M A I N   N E W S

Modi antagonises Sikhs
Cancels Gurpurb holiday in Gujarat
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
Anguished at the decision of the Gujarat Government to cancel holiday on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, Sikhs from various walks of life have decided to lodge a protest with the authorities concerned tomorrow.

“Thousands of Sikhs would assemble and attend the bhog ceremony of Akhand Path held annually at Vadodara tomorrow before handing over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner of the city for passing it on to the Governor of Gujarat,” says Mr Parminder Singh, general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.

“The cancellation of holiday on Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary beginning November last was a reflection on the communal leanings of the BJP government in the state headed by Mr Narendra Modi,” said Mr Parminder Singh.

“It is all the more shocking as the BJP has been claiming the SAD as its alliance partner, both in Punjab and at the Centre. While it is holiday on all main festivals of other minorities in Gujarat, the Modi government has discontinued Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary holiday from last year,” he said, holding that until 2003 it used to be a gazetted holiday.

A large number of Gujaratis, including Sindhis, join Punjabis at the annual Akhand Path at Vadodara. Eminent ragi jathas from Punjab also attend the bhog.

“We have chosen January 30, Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom day, to lodge our protest,” says Mr Parminder Singh holding that Mahatma Gandhi too sacrificed his life for upholding teachings of universal brotherhood, peace and non-violence as preached by Guru Nanak.

After Sunday’s protest, he says, a deputation will call on the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, to seek Central Government’s intervention on the issue.

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