Wednesday, November 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

CM on Golden Temple complex and SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today faxed the following signed statement giving his views on “what constitutes the Golden Temple complex” and on the conduct of SGPC presidential elections in Amritsar today.

“It is unfortunate that an impression was created that the Punjab police had entered the Golden Temple. This is completely untrue. The Golden Temple complex consists of Sri Harmandir Sahib and the buildings situated around the Parkarma which is sanctified and people enter the area without their shoes and after washing their feet, with reverence and devotion.

“The buildings situated on the left side of the Corporation road consist of serais for people to stay in and include bathrooms, toilets, as well as kitchens. People living here do not take their shoes off as this area is not sanctified holy.

“The police entered this area as the SGPC polls were to take place here and it was necessary to ensure that unwanted elements of any of the Akali factions did not entrench themselves before the poll in any of these buildings to disrupt the proceedings. It was only in this area that the police resorted to measures required to ensure an orderly and peaceful poll without any threat of violence or insecurity to the genuine SGPC members.

“I am very satisfied at the peaceful outcome of the SGPC poll. It was for the first time in many years that the SGPC poll has passed off without any disorderly conduct, despite threats of violence and large-scale coersion by rival Akali factions. Because of the timely and effective steps taken by the state administration it was possible to conduct the poll in accordance with Maryada and Sikh traditions.

“I also compliment the state administration for maintaining law and order and exercising restraint in a difficult and tense atmosphere.

“I reiterate that the government had no interest whatsoever in the SGPC election politics and the peaceful and orderly conduct of the poll exposed the false propaganda of those who were alleging that the government had tried to influence the poll.

“Now that the polls are over, I have instructed the administration to withdraw orders under Section 144 CrPC and release all those detained in the state. The barricades in Amritsar have also been dismantled and the bazars have opened. Life in the Holy City is back to normal, as reported by the DC to me this evening”.


Release of political activists ordered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, this evening ordered the release of all those political activists who were arrested in the run-up to the SGPC presidential elections held today.

In a signed statement, Capt Amarinder Singh said that the authorities concerned had also been directed to withdraw the orders pertaining to the promulgation of Section 144 of the CrPC in the state.

Over 1200 political activists, mainly belonging to the SAD headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had been arrested by the police in various districts in the past days.

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