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Monday, May 21, 2007

Punjab The Latest as it comes - Breaking News

Takht to summon Cong leaders who ‘incited trouble’

Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 21

Jathedar Akal Takht Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti today said that those Sikh Congress leaders, who sided with Dera Sacha Sauda and incited trouble at Bathinda on May 14 were being identified and could be summoned before the Sikh clergy.
Replying to a question, Jathedar Vedanti said that the Congress leaders would be summoned as Sikhs because non-Sikhs could not be summoned to Akal Takht.
Earlier, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had blamed the Congress for creating a volatile situation in the state. Badal had alleged that Congress MLAs were present at a sectarian gathering at Bathinda, where the recent incidents of violence in the state began.
He said the Congress leaders had inflamed passions. The SGPC chief Avtar Singh had also charged Congress with inciting trouble in the state.
Vedanti said Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh had only expressed regret for imitating the 10th Sikh Guru. He said the Sacha Sauda chief should apologise unconditionally for indulging in blasphemous acts and only then will the Sikh clergy be willing to take the discussions further.
Meanwhile, Akal takht has decided that essential services like health facilities will not be made to close down during the proposed “Punjab Bandh”.
He urged the Sikh masses to remain peaceful and asked them to refrain from brandishing unsheathed swords during the bandh. Vedanti also asked the Sikhs not to use force while demanding closure of business establishments.
He said a humane approach should be adopted while enforcing the bandh.
The District Magistrate Kahan Singh Pannu has ordered closure of all schools and colleges on May 22 in the wake of the bandh call given by Akal Takht.
In yet another development, the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) today held a silent motorcycle rally to protest against the blasphemous acts of Dera Sacha Sauda chief. The rally started from Gurdwara Shaheedan and after passing through various bazaars of the city culminated at the Golden Temple. The rallyists held placards condemning the sacrilegious acts of Dera chief demanding the release of women devotees from his clutches.
Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia held a meeting of Akali and SGPC leaders and urged the people to maintain peace during the bandh. He also urged people to cooperate in observing complete Punjab bandh as per the directive of the Akal Takht. The SGPC and Chief Khalsa Diwan have also ordered closure all their institutions in wake of the Punjab bandh.
Meanwhile, Dal Khalsa spokesman Kanwarpal Singh said that irrespective of religion and political ideology, Punjabis should unite to contain the activities of Dera Sacha Sauda . He alleged that the activities of Dera chief were not only detrimental for Sikh religion but also for the peace of the state. He urged that Punjabis should honour the call of Punjab Bandh, given by the Akal Takht . He said instead of creating fear psychosis, Sikh youths should persuade people for observing the bandh.
On the other hand, the police have beefed up security and a number of check posts have been put up on all the entry points of the city. The situation was defused when Kuljit Singh of Gur Khalsa Organisation postponed the proposed March to Salabatpura (a branch of Dera Sacha Sauda in Bathinda) in wake of the directive by the Akal Takht which announced that such deras be closed down by May 27.

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