Tribune News Service
Amritsar, November 8
Newly appointed Akal Takht acting Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh faced opposition while delivering his first “sandesh” (customary public address) during Bandi Chhor Diwas (Diwali) from the Darshni Deodi of the Golden Temple on Wednesday.
Organisers of the “controversial sarbat Khalsa” Jarnail Singh Sakhira and his supporters, SAD (Amritsar) activists and hardliners showed black flags to Giani Harpreet Singh and raised pro-Khalistan slogans on the Golden Temple premises.
Parallel jathedar Jagtar Singh Hawara released a message from Tihar Jail, while parallel acting jathedar Dhian Singh Mand released a separate message from Bargari, where he has been participating in a morcha against “police inaction” in sacrilege and Behbal Kalan firing incidents.
Despite disturbance, Giani Harpreet Singh read out the message. He said besides the unforgettable incidents of 1984 Operation Bluestar, followed by November 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the series of sacrileges and Sikh political prisoners behind the bars despite completion of their sentence compelled one to think that Sikhs were discriminated against as a second-class citizen in their own country. He said now under a deep-rooted conspiracy, the Sikh history was being targeted by implementing distorted textbooks in schools.
He said similarly abusive language was being used on social media to create a division among the Sikh community. He said the need of the hour was to be cautious of such conspirators and be on one platform in the light of Gurbani teachings and commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak unitedly.
Meanwhile, Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh Bittu said, “The irony is that Mand, who is serving as an acting Jathedar on behalf of Hawara, delivered his ‘own message’ despite the latter’s sandesh that was already in the public domain. Hence, his conduct reflected that Sarbat Khalsa-appointed Jathedars are further divided. The three sandeshs in a competitive mood have mocked the community,” he said.
The role of the Jathedar of Akal Takht was to unite the Sikhs and not to disunite. But in this case, the existing set of parallel Jathedars had been instrumental in disuniting the Sikhs, he said.