Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 4
Terming the SGPC as a pawn in the hands of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, in an interview with The Tribune, said the SAD was leaving no stone unturned to take credit for 550th Parkash Purb celebrations even as the government had been preparing for it for the past many months. Here are the excerpts of the interview:
There appears to be confusion over Gurpurb events. While the SGPC claims that it is organising the main function, which will be attended by the Prime Minister, the government says it is hosting all main events. What is your view?
The Akalis, in the name of the SGPC, are trying to prove to the Sikh community across the world that they are organising the celebrations. Everybody, barring a few in the SGPC, owe allegiance to the SAD. On ground, the entire arrangements have been made by the state government. There is thus no confusion among the public as to who is the main organiser.
Who is on the forefront? And why are they doing so?
The Akalis are being led by Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur. While one wants to prove herself in the state, the other (Bibi Jagir Kaur) in her area. Harsimrat’s husband (Sukhbir Badal) only follows her. Ironically, they are trying to divide the Sikh community, while celebrating the birth anniversary of the Guru, who always propagated universal brotherhood.
The SGPC is also setting up a stage to host the Prime Minister during the corridor inauguration. Does it mean that the arrangements made by the state government will go waste?
There is no confirmation about the official programme of the Prime Miniser and the Vice President. We are, however, sure that the he (Modi) will attend the event organised by the state. As per the protocol, invitation to the PM, President and Vice president are always sent by the state government.
What is the government doing to end the impasse?
We have offered that Akal Takht under the five jathedars should organise the main event. We are even willing to sit among the audience. We have incurred an expenditure of more than Rs 560 crore in just preparing for the event. We are also coming up with the Institute for Interfaith Studies at a cost of Rs 480 crore and Pind Babe Nanak Da at a cost of Rs 300 crore. The SGPC spending is insignificant.
You had objected to MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu’s gesture of friendship with Pakistan?
As a Sikh, I would say that the opening of the Kartarpur corridor is a positive sign for millions, but I am still not very sure of Pakistani designs. The General there had informed Sidhu about the corridor plan even before Imram Khan was sworn in as Prime Minister. The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) is functioning under the eyes of the ISI. We also cannot rule out wrong utilisation of “huge” revenue generated from the corridor opening.
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