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Rebel SAD leaders appear before Akal Takht jathedar, apologise for 'mistakes' during Akali regime

A section of senior party leaders have revolted against SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, demanding that he step down as the party chief following its debacle in the recently held Lok Sabha elections.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 11:22 IST

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Chandigarh: Rebel Shiromani Akali Dal leaders on Monday appeared before the jathedar of the Akal Takht and apologised for the "mistakes" committed when their party was in power in the state.

They handed the apology letter to Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh at the Akal Takht Secretariat at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Akal Takht is the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs.

In the letter, the leaders sought forgiveness for the "four mistakes" during the former SAD regime between 2007 and 2017, including the failure to punish those responsible for the 2015 sacrilege incidents, and pardoning Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the 2007 blasphemy case.

The rebel leaders pointed out that the Sikh panth and the people of Punjab drifted away from the Akali Dal over these "mistakes" while asserting that they were ready to face any punishment in accordance with the Sikh tenets.

Because of this, the SAD faced "failures" not only on the religious front but also suffered people's apathy in the political field, the leaders said.

A section of senior party leaders have revolted against SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, demanding that he step down as the party chief following its debacle in the recently held Lok Sabha elections.

Among the prominent rebel leaders are former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, ex-MLA Gurpartap Singh Wadala, former Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, and party leader Sucha Singh Chhotepur, all of whom presented themselves before the Akal Takht jathedar.

Referring to the sacrilege incidents, the leaders said the then Akali government could not ensure punishment to the guilty while underlining that the Sikh panth was outraged by the 2015 incidents.

The Shiromani Akali Dal government, the then Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and the president of the SAD neither got this matter probed on time nor succeeded in getting the culprits punished, the letter said.

It led to the situation in Punjab getting worsened and tragic incidents taking place at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan, it said.

"The Shiromani Akali Dal government could not hold any officials accountable for these incidents," it said.

The incidents related to the theft of a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib, putting handwritten sacrilegious posters and torn pages of the holy book being found scattered at Bargari, took place in Faridkot in 2015.

These incidents had led to protests in Faridkot. In the police firing, two people were killed in Behbal Kalan while some were injured at Kotkapura in Faridkot in October 2015.

The letter also mentioned the 2007 blasphemy case registered against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief for allegedly imitating the 10th Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh at Salabatpura.

"Instead of taking further action to punish the person, the Shiromani Akali Dal government withdrew this case," stated the letter.

In 2021, Badal claimed that the SAD government had never withdrawn the blasphemy case against the Dera chief, who is at present lodged in a jail in Haryana. Ram Rahim, in 2017, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for raping two disciples.

The letter also claimed that Sukhbir Badal allegedly used his influence to pardon the Dera Sacha Sauda chief in the blasphemy case.

"...Sukhbir Singh Badal, the president of Shiromani Akali Dal, used his influence to pardon the 'deredar' (Dera chief). You can call the then jathedar of Sri Akal Takht and seek his clarification," the leaders said in the letter.

"But the leadership of Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiromani Committee had to withdraw this decision keeping in mind the anger and resentment of the Sikh Panth," it said.

In 2015, the Akal Takht pardoned the Dera Sacha Sauda chief in the blasphemy case based on a written apology. However, bowing to the pressure from the Sikh community and hardliners, it annulled its decision.

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Published 01 July 2024, 11:22 IST

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