AAP rebels, Sikh radicals seek Badals’ arrest within 15 days
The protestors demanded ouster of the Badal family from the SGPC and action against those responsible for sacrilege and police firing incidents.
Seeking the ouster of the Badals from Sikh religious institutions and arrest of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and former director general of police Sumedh Singh Saini for police firing on anti-sacrilege protesters within 15 days, the rebel group of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Sukhpal Khaira took out a protest march from Kotkapura to Bargari to join the Sikh radical congregation.
Besides MLAs Kanwar Sandhu, Pirmal Singh, Jagdev Singh Kamalu, Nazar Singh Manshahia, Master Baldev Singh and Jagtar Singh Jagga, Lok Insaaf Party MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains and some Sikh radical organisations also participated in the march.
The rally, which was held parallel to rallies of the Congress at Lambi and SAD in Patiala, proved to be a morale-booster for the radical Sikhs protesting in Bargari and Khaira as speakers compared it with the gathering of “Sarbat Khalsa” (Sikh congregation) held at Chabba in Amritsar on November 10, 2015, in the aftermath of the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib and police firing at Behbal Kalan.
Khaira read out two resolutions at Kotkapura and Bargari asking people to ensure that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is set free from the “clutches” of the Badals. He also gave a 15-day ultimatum to the state government to book and arrest Badal senior, Sukhbir and Sani.
The protest march started from the Kotkapura grain market at 12.30pm and reached Bargari at 3pm. While parallel jathedar of Takth Damdama Sahib Baljit Singh Daduwal joined the march, members of radical Sikh organisations gathered at Bargari.
AAP MLAs led by Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann made a symbolic presence at Bargari and left the venue before the arrival of Khaira faction members. Leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Aman Arora, Amarjit Singh Sandoa, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, Sarabjit Kaur Manuke, Kulwant Singh Pandori, Budh Ram, Faridkot MP Sadhu Singh accompanied Mann.
Addressing a gathering, Khaira asked Sukhbir to tender an apology at the Akal Takht for terming the Bargari “morcha” protesters agents of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence.
He said the Captain Amarinder Singh government doesn’t want to take action against those responsible for sacrilege and police firing incidents. “If justice cannot be given in sacrilege incident cases, then how can people expect justice in any other criminal case?” he questioned.
Bains accused the Congress and the Akali Dal of befooling people for their vested interests.
Parallel jathedar Dhian Singh Mand said that Badal was falsely raising a bogey of threat to communal harmony in state. “People of all religions are living cordially here. Hindus, Muslims and Christians too have joined our congregation,” he said.
Mand said Bargari protest, which started on June 1, will continue till the government arrests those behind sacrilege and police firing. He urged the people to gather at Bargari on October 14 to mark third anniversary of police action.
SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann said Sukhbir has insulted Taksali leaders. Long traffic jams were witnessed between Kotkapura, Bargari and Bajakhana on the Bathinda-Amritsar national highway.