November 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India
Badal, men determined to reach complex
Balasar (Sirsa), November 10
The members of the SGPC will go to New Delhi first and would then be airlifted to Amritsar by a charted plane.
While the members, including 20 women, today vowed to break all barriers put up by the police to reach Teja Singh Samundari Hall — the venue of the SGPC elections, Mr Badal asserted, “Come what may, we will reach Amritsar tomorrow. This is not a riyasat (kingdom) of a Maharaja, who can be allowed to rule the state the way he likes.”
While ruling out the possibility of forging unity with a former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Badal alleged that Mr Tohra and his associates had ceased to be Akalis as they shook hands with the Congress and had become “puppets” in the hands of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab.
He, however, said unity was possible with those who were true Panthic leaders. He added that a section of the SGPC members, who were loyal to rival Akali factions, had joined hands with his faction after getting angry over the siege of the SGPC complex by the police.
“Does Mr Tohra still need more repression by the police to move his conscience in the right direction. The members must listen to the voice of their conscience and vote for the candidate of the SAD to be announced by its Political Affairs Committee after a meeting tomorrow.
“We are prepared for the worst as the state can go to any extent to stop the SGPC members from participating in the elections of “mini parliament” of Sikhs,” Mr Badal pointed out.
Apprehending atrocities on the SGPC members, the SAD leadership had requested the Central Government to make arrangements for a team of officials of the Union Home Ministry which could accompany the SGPC members up to the venue of the crucial SGPC elections.
A former Union Minister, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, said two Union Ministers and some members of Parliament would accompany the SGPC members from New Delhi to theSGPC complex.
Before going to Amritsar, Mr Badal and SGPC members may hold a press conference in New Delhi where the SGPC members owing allegiance to Mr Badal could be paraded before mediapersons.
Almost all SGPC members staying at various farmhouses in Sirsa district are of the opinion that Capt Amarinder Singh had imposed an “undeclared” emergency in Punjab. They pointed out that it was for the first time that some parts of the SGPC complex had been made “out-of-bound” areas for pilgrims by the District Magistrate by imposing Section 144 of the Cr PC. They added that such orders were not even issued during the British rule.
A former SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, who managed to reach this farmhouse by dodging the Punjab police, told TNS that it would be a great surprise for the people and Capt Amarinder Singh when the SGPC members would reach Amritsar safe and sound.
She alleged that measures taken by Capt Amarinder Singh were reminiscent of the black days of terrorism in Punjab. She added that members of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission had also been playing a partisan role at the behest of the Congress government.
Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, senior Vice-President, SGPC, said seeking the intervention of Akal Takht by Mr Tohra at this moment for Panthic unity was ridiculous. “How can Mr Tohra make an appeal to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti as Jathedar of Akal Takht when he always considered Bhai Ranjit Singh as the “real jathedar” of Akal Takht and never recognised Giani Vedanti as the Jathedar”, he asked.
When The Tribune team was interacting with SGPC members, Mr Dhyan Singh Jharmari, a member from Derra Bassi, who had deserted the non-aligned seven-member committee, said he himself had left the Tohra camp because the mission of the committee was not based on principles.
Another member of the SGPC, Mr Sukhminder Singh Chabbal, showed his hands to mediapersons and said his hands were not “tied” by Mr Badal as alleged by his detractors. Another member, Mr Gurpal Singh Gora, was having his evening walk in the fields far away from the farmhouse.
SGPC members, while talking to TNS, criticised Mr Tohra for his “silence” over the issuance of prohibitory orders by the District Magistrate of Amritsar and laying of a siege around the SGPC complex. They also alleged that police in “mufti” had entered the Golden Temple.
Mum on Talwandi
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD, preferred to keep mum when asked about his reaction to the extending of support to the seven-member committee headed by Mr Mal Singh Ghuman by Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Chairman, Disciplinary Action Committee of the SGPC.
Mr Badal said he did not want to comment on a person who could not even walk straight. He, however, refused to reply when asked whether action would be taken against Mr Talwandi.
Speaks to DGP
Shocked over the tightening of security and “harassment” of devotees in the Golden Temple by the police, Mr Parkash Singh Badal today spoke to the Director-General of Police.
Mr Badal pointed out that such repression let loose by the police on the devotees would go down in the pages of Sikh history as black chapters and the names of those, who had been hurting the sentiments of Sikhs by indulging in various acts of omission and commission, would also figure in these pages.
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