Amarinder Singh slams Akal Takht leader over remarks on safety of Sikhs, tells him to ask Akalis to sever ties with BJP if he feels so

  • Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that any feeling among the Sikh community that they are not secure in India is a matter of grave concern

  • Amarinder was referring to the statement of Akal Takht's acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh where he called upon the community to come together so as to contain attacks whether in India or outside

  • Reacting to the remarks, Amarinder said, that if Sikhs in India are feeling insecure, as stated by Giani, then it is the dispensation at the Centre which is to blame

  • He also said that while some incidents here and there could not be construed to be a case of Sikhs not being safe in India, 'perception is as important as reality'

Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday slammed the Akal Takht's acting jathedar over his reported remark that Sikhs are not safe in the country, telling him to ask the Akalis to sever ties with the ruling BJP if he felt this way.

Giani Harpreet Singh, jathedar (leader) of the supreme temporal body of Sikhs, on Monday reportedly condemned the Gurdwara Nankana Sahib attack and the killing of a Sikh youth in Peshawar, saying, "I do not feel Sikhs are safe anywhere. In India, Sikhs are being uprooted in Madhya Pradesh and in Shillong also, they are facing eviction. In Pakistan, Sikhs are also scared after the incidents of killing of a Sikh and Nankana Sahib (gurdwara)".

Reacting to the remarks, the Punjab chief minister asked the jathedar to pressure the Akalis to sever all ties with the ruling alliance at the Centre, which had been "unable to ensure a sense of safety among the minorities in the country".

 Amarinder Singh slams Akal Takht leader over remarks on safety of Sikhs, tells him to ask Akalis to sever ties with BJP if he feels so

File image of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. Twitter@capt_amarinder

Amarinder Singh said he did not agree with Akal Takht jathedar's remarks. He said, "If the jathedar did feel that way, he should take up the matter with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and ask them to leave the BJP-led coalition government at the Centre, of which they are a part."

The Punjab chief minister, in a statement in Chandigarh, said that unlike Pakistan, India had always taken pride in being a secular nation, with no discrimination on religious grounds. "Any feeling among the Sikh community that they are not secure here is a matter of grave concern," he said.

In his remarks, the jathedar had also appealed to the Sikh community to come together so as to contain such attacks.

While in Madhya Pradesh, there were reports of some Sikh families being evicted from their houses in Sheopur district, in Meghalaya capital Shillong, the Sikh families were last year asked to prove they were settled legally, he said.

Amarinder said, "If Sikhs are feeling insecure in the country, as stated by the acting jathedar, then it is the dispensation at the Centre which is to blame".

"Given that the Akalis claim to be the custodians of the Sikh religion and the community, they should take a stand on the issue, and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal should also ask his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal to resign immediately as a Union Minister," the chief minister said.

He said that while some incidents here and there could not be construed to be a case of Sikhs not being safe in India, "perception is as important as reality".

"The Sikhs had lived through a very dark period in the 1980s and any feeling of being at the receiving end in any way would revive their sense of fear, which would be detrimental to the community's interest, as well as that of the nation," the chief minister said.

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Updated Date: Jan 08, 2020 00:07:53 IST