Sukhbir’s sudden praise for Sant Bhindranwale has few takers

“Govt slamming the door shut on farmers face “- Sukhbir Singh Badal

Sukhbir’s sudden praise for Sant Bhindranwale has few takers

CHANDIGARH, 5 November :

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday surprised everyone when he revealed that while being in power, he had to face extreme pressure from the central government and various political parties over his party decision to get constructed Gurudwara Yadgari Shaheedan (Blue Star Memorial) inside the premises of the Golden Temple.

Sukhbir spoke this at the wedding ceremony of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale’s grandson Gurkanwar Singh at Gurdwara Chowk Mehta.

To earn brownie points, he reminded the gathering how during his party’s government in 2012 he got the task finished notwithstanding the Central government’s pressure. The political circle is analysing as to what prompted Sukhbir to sing praises in favour of Sant Bhindrawale.

Observers feel Sukhbir chose the timing and occasion since he was well aware that the audience were ardent followers of Sant Bhindranwale.  Sukhbir is desperate to revive his party’s fortunes as it took nosedive since Bargarhi-Behbal sacrilege related incidents. Hence, it seems, his speech was aimed to regain the lost Panthic ground. Otherwise, Badal family has no love for Sant Bhindrawale, who otherwise commands great respect from the community.

Moreover, the background of the memorial, Sukhbir shared with the audience was full of factual errors. He did no homework for his speech and just tried to play with the gallery. The demand to raise the memorial propped up much before Sukhbir first met with present Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh. It had a long history of 8 years of hectic activities by the Sikh organizations.

The demand to raise the memorial in memory of those killed during army attack on Darbar Sahib in June 1984 dates back to June 2003, once the Akal Takhat at a ceremony declared Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a Martyr of the faith.

The occasion was the 19th anniversary of Ghalughara divas ( 6 June 2003). The Jathedar of the Akal Takhat Gaini Joginder Singh Vedanti along with SGPC president Prof Kirpal Singh honoured the son of Sant Bhindranwale Ishar Singh after declaring that Sant Bhindranwale embraced martyrdom while fighting with the Indian army in June 1984.

The declaration paved the way for the demand for the memorial of 1984 martyrs. Hours later, the Samagam under the aegis of Akal Takhat was held at Diwan Manji Sahib within Darbar Sahib precincts, where a resolution was passed asking the SGPC to construct the memorial in memory of those who sacrificed their lives during the attack.

Gradually, the demand gained currency. On June 3, 2009, the Sikh Marchers took out a long march in the city and submitted a memorandum to the SGPC in this regard. Sensing SGPC’s reluctance, the Dal Khalsa leader Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib staged a hunger strike for 72 hours (June 3 to 6 2010), outside the SGPC headquarters to press for the demand.

After this development, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar announced that a memorial will come up soon. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Taksal head Baba Harnam Singh prevailed upon the SAD leadership led by Badals to decide in favour of the memorial. In return, Taksal supported the Akali Dal in the 2012 assembly elections. After the Akalis regained power, the Badals during the second consecutive tenure of their government instructed the SGPC to hand over the kar sewa to Damdami Taksal, which started the construction work in May 2012. Taksal completed the memorial in the form of Gurdwara within Darbar Sahib Complex in April 2013 naming it after the name of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and other martyrs of June 1984.

Naming the memorial after Bhindrawale’s name took everyone to surprise including Badal’s, who expressed their annoyance.

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