Tribune News Service
Amritsar, September 14
Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday approached Akal Takht seeking the excommunication of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal from the Sikh faith over their alleged involvement in the police firing on protesters during 2015 protests against incidents of sacrilege in the state, as well as for their “misuse” of the highest Sikh temporal seat for "political motives".
Sidhu handed his letter to Jathedar’s assistant at Akal Takht Secretariat because Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh wasn’t available. Later, he was joined by Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar.
In his letter, Sidhu accused the Badals of “conniving” with the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect to misuse of the highest Sikh temporal seat and flouting the Akal Takht’s 2007 ‘hukamnama’. He accused Sukhbir Badal—a former home minister of Punjab—of going “soft” on controversial Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and forcing the Akal Takht Jathedar to have him pardoned despite its orders to boycott him for blasphemy.
“I approached Akal Takht as a voice of the Sikh community whose sentiments were hurt due to desecration of Guru Granth Sahib, the police shooting of peaceful protestors and the belittlement of the institution of Akal Takht to please the Dera Sirsa head. These misadventures were designed by then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, and his son, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, for votes. Who are they (Badals) to summon Takht Jathedars at chief minister’s house to direct them to exonerate the Dera Sirsa cult? I have urged Jathedar to pronounce an exemplary punishment of excommunication to father-son duo in the interest of the Sikh Panth,” he said, accusing the Badals, chiefly Sukhbir Badal, of having struck a multi-crore deal with Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, whose pardon came days before his movie ‘MSG-2’ was release.
Jakhar, meanwhile, said that while Sidhu pursued religious punishments, the Congress party would take legal recourse. Whether Jathedar would acknowledge Sidhu’s appeal remains to be seen.
Sukhbir Badal has been accused of forcing Akal Takht to pardon the Dera chief in return for the latter’s support in last year's Assembly elections.
A report by the Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) commission recently indicted Chief Minister Prakash Badal for having ordered police to fire at protesters at Kotkapura during anti-sacrilege protests of 2015. Sukhbir Badal has rejected the report.