Latest Breaking News from Punjab:Wednesday 11th July 2007
Khalsa Action Committee march stopped in Mohali
Chandigarh: Frsutrating the plans of the panthic bodies under the banner of Khalsa Action Committee to march to the residences of the Punjab and Haryana Chief Ministers, the Punjab Police prevented a march of hundreds of Sikhs protesters against Sacha Sauda dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim from entering Chandigarh.
The representatives of the Chief Ministers reached Mohali to collect the memorandums, signed by Bhai Mohkam Singh, Kanwar Pal Singh, Karnail Singh Panjoli, Gurdip Singh Bhatinda and Paramjit Singh.
The march was stopped in Mohali itself after they it from Gurudwara Amb Sahib. The marchers were to sit on a dharna in front of the official residences of the chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana. The protesters then got together into an impromptu rally after seeing that they will be forcibly stopped as the Chandigarh police had put up barricades and stationed riot police at the city's border crossover points with Punjab.
The march was organised by the Khalsa Action Committee, which also includes Dal Khalsa and Damdami Taksal but the Akali Dal (Amritsar) had announced that it will keep away from the march.
Meanwhile, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti has said that the July 11 rally at Ratia in Fatehabad district of Haryana, 15 km from the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa, would be held as scheduled.
In the memorandum submitted to Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, the protesters said that "Due to laxity in dealing with such a sensitive issue, the cult leader and his so-called premis have become more offensive, and their targets are mostly the mainstream Sikhs, who are committed to Akal Takht and its edicts issued in this regard from time to time."
"The situation is similar to the one prevailing before April 1978 and June 1984...Regrettably, this day too, justice to the Sikhs seems in jeopardy in Punjab and Haryana. The laxity on part of Punjab and Haryana administrations notwithstanding, the Centre and the higher judiciary are either sleeping over such a sensitive issue or lacking a proper vision (will) to deal with the matter. Not only that, the Opposition leader in the Punjab State Assembly openly supports the cause of the criminal cult leader just for petty electoral gains. It seems that the Congress did not learn any lesson from the past.
"(T)hings have been allowed to come to a pass where the Dera head projects himself as a law unto himself. He encourages (preaches) violence through his followers, the terrorists in the garb of dera-premis. They need to be brought to book in order to curb their criminal activities and put an end to their nefarious designs and machinations to create trouble for the state, apparently at the instance of their Delhi masters. The filing of a petition before the President of India to dislodge the Punjab government claiming that it had failed to maintain law and order in the state is not without strings.
"On the other hand, Sardar Badal, your litany -- law will take its course; no one is above law and rule of law will prevail -- is nothing but a reflection of the lackadaisical approach of the state government of which you are the head."
The memo further said: "Mr Badal, in the given situation, you need to immediately neutralise your political enemies within the Panth and counter the others, especially the Congress which is at the back of this episode, by becoming proactive to act against this menace.
"The first thing you need to do is to unconditionally release and take back cases of the Sikh leaders, including Simranjit Singh Mann and Daljit Singh Bittu who have been booked due to political reasons. Sardar Mann is being kept behind bars only to stall his political activities that could be directed against the dera chief and his co-cultists. Bhai Bittu is being terrorised into silence only because he is a leading member (co-convenor) of the KAC.
"Secondly, withdraw all cases falsely registered against all those Sikhs, who have been active during Sikh agitations against the cultists in the wake of the Dera row. The foremost need is to immediately arrest all those so-called dera-premis involved in the murder of Bhai Kamaljit Singh and the murderous assault on innocent Sikhs at Bathinda. The dera head should be arrested along with his coterie of advisors (spokespersons) under 120-B of the IPC in all these incidents as they have deliberately and maliciously instigated the offenders."
"As far as the case under section 295-A of the IPC against the dera head and others is concerned, any apology whatsoever it may be, does not absolve the culprits as the case is non-compoundable. Any relief from the High Court under section 438 Cr P C is a misnomer and it should be effectively challenged forthwith.
"Despite his so-called apology, misleadingly pleaded in the HC, the dera head is repeatedly ridiculing the Sikh religion and its amrit-sanchar ceremony. More such cases should be registered against him and his associates. They should be arrested in fresh cases as law does not tolerate such blasphemous and outrageous acts in which these dera premis are unashamedly indulging."
Indian State's interference in Sikh Religious matters is unwarranted
Chandigarh:Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu (Senior Vice President, Akali Dal Amritsar) held a press conference in Chandigarh. He claimed that Indian State is interfering in religious matters of Sikhs and this is unauthorized interference. He accused that State is ignoring sentiments of Sikh Nation and trying to forcibly suppressing Sikh movement in dera issue. For instance, he said, State stopped many persons and leaders from participating 9 July dharna in Mohali held by KAC. He informed SAD (A) youth leader S. Mandhir SIngh and his Jatha were stopped by Ropar Police. Similarly, Dal Khalsa Jatha was also stoped at Ropar. There are other incidents of like nature also. He said State is on its' way of closing all peaceful means of protest and this is extremely dangerous. He said if situation goes out of control the whole responsibility shall be on Central and State Government and its' agencies. Commenting on postponing Ratia convention he said firstly established Sikh Leadership takes decision without consulting Sikh Sangat and then postpone it under State Pressure. This trend is reducing the credibility of this leadership. As on 08 July S. Ram Singh of SAD (A) has announced in a press conference that SAD (A) has separated itself from Khalsa Action Committee, Bhai Bittu said that it may be thinking an individual and it is not decision of the party. He said we joined KAC after deciding for it in a Political Affairs Committee, and only PAC has the right to decide in this regard. On charges of Sedition against him and S. Simranjeet SIngh Maan and others, Bhai Daljit SIngh said that State is misusing law and legal process to trap Sikh leaders. He said role of Judiciary in this matter is also discouraging. It is worth notable that stay on arrest of Bhai Daljit Singh in a sedition case at Fatehgarh Sahib is vacated by the court of Addn. Sessions Judge on 4 July, the day when court rejected bail application. Meanwhile on 09 July the High Court has asked the Punjab Government to file reply by 02 August on bail application filed by Bhai Daljit SIngh in High Court through his council, Advo. Navkiran Singh, But the court has not stayed arrest of Bhai Bittu and police is in his search.
Conclave PM’s intervention did it
Amritsar, The timely intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh helped in defusing the Sikh-Dera Sacha Sauda impasse. He had conveyed his concern over the impending confrontation to Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general, SAD, and Tarlochan Singh, a Rajya Sabha Member from Haryana , during their meeting in New Delhi yesterday.
Both Dhindsa and Tarlochan Singh conveyed the anxiety of the Prime Minister to Parkash Singh Badal and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana. The Prime Minister had reportedly told the Sikh leaders that the clashes had been bringing a bad name to the community and some way be found to get the Sikh conclave postponed.
Tarlochan Singh then motivated the members of Haryana SGPC to send their representation to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, to help in defusing the impending confrontation. He also spoke to Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti on this issue. The SGPC chief, Avtar Singh, also prevailed upon Jathedar Vedanti to withdraw the call.
Talking to The Tribune, Tarlochan Singh said the Prime Minister also talked to the Punjab and Haryana Chief Ministers to seek their cooperation in defusing the situation.
The SGPC members from Haryana, belonging to both groups, had also faxed their representation to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, in which they apprehended that the conclave might result in violence. The union home minister had also sought the cooperation of SGPC chief during their meeting in New Delhi.
The move to get the conclave postponed was kept secret which was clear from the fact that Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, expressed surprise over the development.
On learning that Jathedar Nandgarh was annoyed with the postponement, the entire top leadership of SAD and SGPC used their good offices to stop him from taking the extreme step of sticking to the “gurmatta”.
Khalsa panel struggle being crushed: Bittu
Chandigarh, Senior vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Daljit Singh Bittu here today said the peaceful struggle waged by the Khalsa Action Committee against Dera Sacha Sauda was being “suppressed” by the Punjab and union governments.
He said the committee was committed to getting the decisions announced by Akal Takht against the dera chief implemented. The social boycott of the dera would continue. But all this would be done peacefully, he added.
24 Sikh protesters, six cops hurt in clash
More than 24 Sikh protesters and several policemen were injured during a clash in front of the Dera Sacha Sauda branch situated on the Hussainiwala road here this morning.Hundreds of Sikh protesters reached the dera early morning to prevent dera followers from holding "Naamcharcha”.ADC Rahul Tiwari and SDM D.P.S. Kharbanda, who had reached the spot early morning, said the district administration had already prevailed upon dera followers not to organise “Naamcharcha”.The SDM said the administration told the leaders accompanying the protesters that since "Naamcharcha" was not being held, they should return peacefully.Instead of returning, the protesters, which included workers from various Sikh bodies, broke the police barrier and rushed towards the dera.They demanded that the symbol of "Ek Onkar" placed at the entrance of the dera should be removed as the dera was not supposed to use that symbol. The civil authorities told the protesters that since Akal Takht had not issued any directives on use of "Ek Onkar", they should not insist on removing it so that the atmosphere did not get vitiated.The protesters started pelting stones and attacked the police with swords and other sharp-edged weapons. Six policemen - head constable Sudesh Pal, Nirbhai Singh, Angrej Singh, Subhash Chander, Darshan Dayal and Jagir Singh - were injured in the incident. Two photojournalists also sustained injuries.The police used water canons and teargas shells and later resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd.Paramjit Singh Kalsi, president, Sikh Student Federation, termed the police action as unwarranted. He denied that the protesters had turned violent and blamed the district administration for the melee.The police has registered a case against prominent Sikh leaders who led the protest. According to information, the police has registered a case under Sections 307, 324, 353, 186, 332 and 188,, IPC, against Harpal Singh Bhullar, Paramjit Singh Kalsi, Jaspal Singh, Udik Singh Kunde, Dilbagh Singh, Lakhwinder Singh Ladda, Balwinder Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Rajinder Singh, Harjinder Singh and Gurvinder Singh along with a few unidentified persons for defying magisterial orders, instigating the crowd and causing injuries to policemen.When contacted, Harpal Singh Bhullar, while condemning the police action, stated that instead of registering a case against the dera followers, the police has falsely implicated them for no fault of theirs. Bhullar said that he, along with other leaders, tried their level best to pacify the crowd but some persons from other towns had turned violent.
Only baptised Sikh should lead SAD
Mandi Ahmedgarh, Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa of Damdami Taksal, who is also a member of the Sant Samaj, yesterday observed that only a baptised Sikh should lead the SAD as only such a person could become a role model and stem the tide against the increasing apostasy among the community.To the utter dismay of party acting chief Sukhbir Badal and his supporters, he suggested that Sukhbir get baptised immediately if he wanted to continue to lead the Sikh community in general and the Panthic party in particular.
Visibly stung by the statement, senior leaders could be seen smarting under the comment which was greatly appreciated by the audience.He was addressing a gathering at Gurdwara Ram Sar at Kaind village, near here, on the occasion of the fourth death anniversary of Sant Mohinder Singh.Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, who is also president of the Gurmat Sidhant Parchar Committee, alleged that it was the apathy of Sikh leaders in propagating Sikhism in the northern states, including Punjab, which was responsible for the mushrooming of deras and anti-Sikh forces.Later, during a meeting chaired by Badal, various constituents of the Sant Samaj accused the state police of shielding Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim who, according to them, should have been arrested by now."The police not only helped him by delaying the process for his arrest, it also did not seize his passport also," alleged Baba Harnam Singh maintaining that the court had directed the police to take the travel document in its possession.After giving a patient hearing to the office-bearers of the Sant Samaj, Sukhbir Badal said, "Within two days, you will find that necessary action on the part of the state government has been taken." The administration was supposed to act according to the orders of the court, he added.
Haryana CM offers to coordinate with Punjab on dera Sacha Sauda issue
CHANDIGARH: Focussing on dera Sacha Sauda controversy, the Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh hooda Monday in a significant statement said that his government is committed to maintain peace and harmony in the entire region. He said his government would work in coordination with Punjab government to maintain peace.
He said that action would be taken as per law and law and order would be maintained at all cost and no body would be allowed to vitiate peace full atmosphere of the state.
The statement of Hooda came minutes after the Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti in Amritsar announced to postpone the Ratia Sikh conclave of July 11. It is understood that some understanding has been reached behind the scene between Haryana and Punjab governments to deal effectively with dera Sacha Sauda issue.
An official spokesman of Haryana government said late at night on Monday that the Ludhiana based Khalsa action committee today presented a memorandum to Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for securing justice to ensure rule of law and peace in haryana and punjab in the wake of dera sacha sauda's, alleged criminial activities against sikh faith and sikh community. They also stressed to take stringent legal measures against dera head and other cultists. The memorandum signed by Bhai Jasbir Dingh Khalsa and Harinder Singh Khalsa of Khalsa Action ommittee was received by OSD to haryana CM, M.S.Chopra on behalf of the CM at Chandigarh-Mohali border today.