Punjab Latest Breaking News - Thursday 7th June 2007
Arrest Baba Raam Raheem or the Sant Samaaj will carry out Court Arrest
Chandigarh, In response to Punjab Government's unnecessary interruption during the Fatehgarh Sahib march, several Panthic leaders lashed out on Parkash Badal and other Shiromani Akali Dal (B) members during a meeting held at Gurdwara Nanaksar (Ludhiana). The march that initiated from Fatehgarh Sahib finalized at Gurdwara Jyoti Saroop Sahib although according to plans, its destination was set to Chandigarh.
During the meeting at Nanaksar, all Sant Samaj leaders collectively gave an ultimatum to the government seeking arrest of Gurmeet Ram Rahim before June 18. It was decided that if the government fails to arrest the Sacha Sauda leader, Sant Samaj leaders would court arrest in front of the Chandigarh Raj Bhawan to protest government failure.
Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma, the President and spokesperson of the Sant Samaj, said that peaceful protests will be carried out in front of the Raj Bhawan. He blamed the Punjab and Haryana State Government for being the main factor behind the violence that erupted in Punjab. While talking to the press after the three hour long meeting, Baba Dhumma said that if the State Governments had taken appropriate steps to deal with Gurmeet Ram Rahim's case, situation in Punjab could have been kept under control
Paramjit S. Sarna, President of Shiromani Akali Dal (D) named Parkash Badal and Bhatriya Janta Party leadership as the main culprits behind the Sacha Sauda controversy. He lashed out on Parkash Badal while demanding an expedited inquiry and decision of the case. Sarna said if Parkash Badal's government fails to act in a reasonable manner, he should resign from the post of Punjab chief minister.
Daljit S. Bittu who was representing the Shiromani Akal Dal (A) in absence of S. Simranjit Singh Mann stated that strict actions will be taken against Sacha Sauda Leader while maintaining peace in the state. Since the meeting was held before his arrest, he has asked for all Panthic organizations to meet once again in Ludhiana to discuss further course of actions.
Khalsa Action Committee made by Panthic Organisations to implement Hukamnamas
Ludhiana, A 15-member ‘Khalsa Action Committee’ was constituted by pro-Panthic organizations at Gurdwara Sahib Shaheedan, Model Town to implement and execute the Hukamnamas (orders) of Sri Akal Takht Sahib issued to counter the threats of the Sirsa Sauda cult.
The Khalsa Action Committee included representatives from the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Shiromani Akali Dal-1920, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Damdami Taksal, Khalsa Panchayat, Sikh Student Federation and the Sant Samaj among other organizations.
The Khalsa Action Committee is demanding the immediate arrest of cult dera chief Ram-Rahim, and the close of all deras in Punjab. If these demands are not met by June 18th, they cautioned, a massive march would be taken from Moga to Sri Damdama Sahib where a Panthic conference would be called for initiating the next phase in this critical standoff.
It needs to be noted that Badal/SGPC appointed Jathedars have been heavily criticized for backing away from their own Hukamnamas due to ongoing pressure from the Akali Dal Badal/BJP combine. The Jathedars are classified as employees of the SGPC and can be removed at the whim of the SGPC or Akali Dal management.
Panthic Organisations approach Badal/SGPC for Changing Protest March
Fatehgarh Sahib, Several Panthic leaders lashed out at the State Government and the SGPC after the rerouting of the Fatehgarh Sahib march was announced. Many expected the protest march to have a positive outcome, but due to the State Government's interference, it ended abruptly at Gurdwara Jyoti Saroop--even though the original destination was Chandigarh. The march was organized in collaboration with an eleven member committee that consisted of various Panthic and other political organizations.
The purpose of the march was to hand a memorandum to the Governors of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh to seek the arrest of Gurmeet Ram Rahim. But the 11 member committee's plan was foiled after the route of the march was changed. The memorandum had to be handed to representatives of the Governors instead. This decision was not approved by any Panthic organization and Sikh Youth raised slogans against SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar for working as Parkash Badal's puppet.
Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti cleared his stance by blaming Avtar Singh Makkar for changing the plans. Earlier, the Jathedars of the Takhats had asked Sikh Sangat to accompany them on the Fatehgarh Sahib to Chandigarh protest march, but according to trusted sources, the plans were changed under pressure from Parkash Badal. Previously, Badal had received a warning note from his BJP allies that if the situation in Punjab worsened, the alliance between the two political parties would be broken.
Jathedar of Akal Takhat Sahib told the press that the SGPC had issued an advertisement on behalf of Akal Takhat Sahib in newspapers declaring that the march would be finalized at Gurdwara Jyoti Saroop. Jathedar Vedanti told the press that the SGPC did not seek permission from Akal Takhat Sahib before publishing this ad. Jathedar Vedanti alleged that this was the first time such a step was taken by the SGPC; he also told the press that appropriate steps would be taken to resolve the matter with the SGPC.
After the ardas was performed at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, an announcement was made asking all of the participants to refrain from showing any kind of aggressiveness in the march until it arrives at Gurdwara Jyoti Saroop. It was also announced that the 11 member committee would then hand the memorandum to the representatives of the Punjab and Haryana Governors under the guidance of Avtar Singh Makkar.
The march then proceeded and over 2,000 police personnel were deployed across the route. The march reached Gurdwara Jyoti Saroop in three parts. The first part reached Gurdwara Jyoti Saroop following the bus of the 11 member committee. The second part was following the Takhat Jathedars and last mainly consisted of Sikh Youth who ignored police and shouted slogans of Khalistan Zindabad (Long Live Khalistan) and Raj Karega Khalsa (The Khalsa will rule).
Upon reaching Gurdwara Jyoti Saroop, several leaders took the stage and addressed the sangat. Avtar Singh Makkar held that the Sikhs would take nothing less than the arrest of Gurmeet Ram Rahim and closure of all deras in Punjab. Jathedar Vedanti also expressed similar views and said that Sikhs would never allow blasphemy to be committed against the Guru Sahibs. Other Panthic leaders who expressed dissatisfaction at the protest march held that another meeting would be held in Ludhiana at Gurdwara Nanaksar Sahib to discuss a further course of action. It was announced that the leadership of SGPC and its affiliated organizations would be allowed only if they would be willing to comply with the directives of sangat.
SC rejects DSGMC’s petition Probe in cases against Dera chief
After refusing to intervene in recent Dera Sacha Sauda controversy, the Supreme Court today rejected the plea of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) for expeditious probe by the CBI in some pending cases against Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh some of his followers.
Declining to take cognizance of the DSGMC petition, a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and D K Jain said once the Punjab and Haryana High Court was seized of the matter, there was no reason for the apex court to intervene in the these cases.
The Court on June 4 had also rejected a petition of a Dera trustee and a public interest litigation on the issue of the threat against the Deras for their closure, issued by the Akal Takht, saying that the judiciary had no role to play in religious affairs like these and they be left to the government to take appropriate decisions.
Moreover, the apex court had said that in the law and order issue arising out of the recent controversy, the Punjab and Haryana High Court was already monitoring the situation.
The DSGMC had sought a direction to the CBI to expedite the investigation in some criminal cases registered against the Dera chief and some of its functionaries.
According to the Sikh body in the nation capital, two cases related to alleged murder of a journalist and “sexual exploitation” of a “sadhvi” were being probed by the CBI but it was going very slow with the investigation.
The apex court disapproved the practice of people rushing to the Supreme Court on every issue.
It was also alleged that in the Ranjeet Singh murder case against five of Dera functionaries, no progress had been made on the question of framing of charges as the proceedings in the trial court were going on in a slow pace despite the main and supplementary chare-sheets filed in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had earlier stated that the law should take its own course against Dera chief and its functionaries in the criminal cases being probed by the CBI.
The 23rd anniversary of Operation Bluestar today passed off peacefully even as some hardliners thwarted the attempts made by some youths to distribute leaflets having the message “Khalistan zindabad” at the Akal Takht secretariat here today.
However, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Joginder Singh Vedanti asked the Sikh Panth to arm themselves as per the Sikh traditions and start “gurmat” classes at all gurdwaras with a view to uprooting the gurus of cults like Noormehlias, Bhaniarawala and Dera Sacha Sauda.
The jathedar honoured the kin of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Bhai Amrik Singh, former president, All-India Students Federation, and Maj-Gen Shabeg Singh, who had masterminded the fortification of Akal Takht and SGPC buildings before the Army operation.
Though Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal were conspicuous by their absence, SGPC chief Avtar Singh, jathedars of various takhts and Akali ministers, including Sucha Singh Langah and Bikramjit Singh Majithia, and Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, chief, Damdami Taksal, participated in the anniversary function, which remained a low-key affair this time.
The jathedar, Akal Takht, also paid tributes to all those who were killed during the Army operation. He rued that the Central government had failed to return the invaluable books and literature after the Sikh Reference Library got burnt.
Reports about observing the anniversary in foreign countries were also received.
SSF rally on June 22
The Sikh Students Federation (SSF) will hold a protest rally, “Delhi hilao”, in New Delhi on June 22 to create awareness among the Sikh masses, intellectuals and leaders of other political parties on the dera issue.
Stating this to the mediapersons here today, Gurcharan Singh Garewal, president, SSF, announced that a three-day movement would be organised from June 15 to expose those guilty. He said they would also hold a dharna near the Parliament House in this connection.
‘Arrest Dera chief’
The Punjab government should immediately release Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann and 20 others, including a woman, and arrest Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for his blasphemous acts.
Stating this, SAD (A) vice-president Bhai Dhian Singh Mand and general secretary Ram Singh, in a memorandum to the Governor submitted through the deputy commissioner here today, said Mann and others were arrested by the police on May 14 by implicating them in false cases of sedition. They urged him to issue directions to the state government for punishing the dera chief for hurting the Sikh sentiments, besides closing the deras in the state.
They also urged the governor to ban the celebrations of anniversary of former Chief Minister Beant Singh.