The Punjab chief minister said his state was made to pay a heavy price for deployment of Central para military forces.
A day after the Punjab Assembly passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday said Punjabi television network, PTC, linked to the Badal family, is earning crores of rupees by acquiring the exclusive broadcasting rights for telecasting Gurbani (compositions by the Sikh Gurus and other writers of Guru Granth Sahib) from the Golden Temple.
Addressing a press conference, the chief spokesperson of AAP Punjab, Malvinder Singh Kang said Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has taken a historic decision to make the transmission of Gurbani from Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) free for everyone so that Gurbani will reach all corners of the world.
Kang said the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has given the rights to broadcast Gurbani to the PTC channel, and everyone knows who owns that channel. Based on the report of a committee formed by Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Kang questioned the commercial growth of the PTC channel from Rs 3 crore to Rs 1,000 crore in 16 years.
Denying the claims of PTC managing director that the channel doesn’t charge anyone a penny to air Gurbani, Kang said Sikhs and Punjabis across the globe have to download PTC’s app to access Gurbani and pay certain money every month for it. “Then how is Gurbani broadcast free? And if it is really free for all then why is it not being telecast on any other channel?,” he asked.
Questioning the SGPC president, Harjinder Singh Dhami, the AAP leader said on what basis are they declaring the Mann government decision to broadcast free Gurbani as an attack on the Panth (Sikh religion). “While everyone knows that by acquiring the rights to broadcast Gurbani, a private channel and a family earned crores of rupees through TRPs, advertisements, etc, they also got their share of political benefits from it,” Kang said.
He claimed last year the Jathedar (high priest) of Akal Takht (the highest temporal body of the Sikhs) Giani Harpreet Singh, ordered the SGPC to make its own channel for Gurbani broadcasting, but instead of accepting it, Singh was removed from the post. Kang said Dhami has put the reputation of the entire SGPC at stake to save the politics of one channel and one family.