Chandigarh: The Sikh bodies in Punjab have intensified their struggle on the issues which largely comprises the summations of Sikh sentiments, presumably to change the political narratives, given the fact that Punjab’s Bhagwant Mann-led government is yet to fulfill majority of its promises made with the people in a run up to assembly elections, which led to Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) stunning victory in the state.
Many believe that AAP’s rating continues to plummet in Punjab despite several ‘people friendly’ decision taken by it yet the Sikh bodies- riddled with personal and individual political interests- appear to focus on showing an exit path to the AAP and make a comeback.
Issues like the release of Sikh prisoners, the alleged failure of Sikh’s single largest representative body Shiromani Gurdwar Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in the management of Sikh institutions and not showing any seriousness in case of missing Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), Bargarli sacrilege incidents are some of the significant issues being raked up by different Sikh bodies to not only garner their electoral support but also to win their sentimental support.
While holding the SGPC responsible for increasing apostasy among Sikhs, mismanagement of Gurdwaras and other Sikh institutions and most significantly conversions among Sikhs, the former jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, who also has political ambitions and leads Panthic Akali Lehar party, has given a call to free the SGPC from the control of a single political party. Singh told Zee News that Sikh population was declining sharply due to conversions since the present leadership had failed to provide good schools, colleges, hospitals or pay good salaries to its staff.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Badal as well as SGPC have both taken up the Sikh prisoners issue and for the purpose SAD (B) has even begun holding district wise meetings in Punjab. SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami said that the issue of the release of Sikh prisoners was of immense importance for the Sikh community.
Strangely, when in alliance with the BJP, the SAD(B) didn’t do much for the release of Sikh prisoners despite having its government in Punjab and the BJP in the Centre.
Parallel Jathedar of Sikhs’ supreme temporal seat Akal Takht, Bhai Dhian Singh Mand has given a call of meeting to the representatives of Panthic bodies at Moga on October 2 to discuss the Bargari sacrilege incident.
Mand told Zee News that the AAP has failed to take any action against the culprits of sacrilege so they were forced to announce a new programme, adding “We will discuss with the leaders of all the Sikh religious and other bodies before giving a call of future agitation for getting justice from the AAP government.”
Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala of Sikh Sadbhavna Dal who had begun a ‘morcha’ demanding justice in the case of 328 saroop of SGGS which he claims had gone missing from the SGPC’s records has also intensified his agitation. Similarly, Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib Giani Kewal Singh-led Panthic Talmel Sangathan (PTS) has already announced to contest the SGPC elections to oust the present SGPC regime.
All these leaders believed to have political ambitions and nurture political dreams and are taking up different issues to strengthen their negotiating power and could make alliances with some main political parties in near future.