With Punjab Assembly passing the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023 to make the transmission of Gurbani from Golden Temple in Amritsar free-to-air for broadcasters all over the world, the Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday described it as “ a provocative and brazen interference in the religious affairs of the Khalsa Panth (community that practices Sikhism) and an assault on the Sikh religious institutions.”
Addressing a press conference, senior Akali leaders Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra and Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema said the Bill was passed at the behest of the “anti-Sikh” Arvind Kejriwal (Aam Aadmi Party chief) who is out to fulfill the long cherished agenda of enemies of the Panth (Sikh religion) to control and dilute Sikh institutions and Sikh heritage.
The SAD said the issue of Gurbani telecast was a mere excuse being used by the anti-Sikh forces through the AAP government. “Their real intent is to usurp control of Sikh shrines and dilute the religious history, heritage , traditions and narrative of the Khalsa Panth. But we accept this challenge thrown at us by a stooge of anti-Sikh Arvind Kejriwal and we are ready for the fight,” Bhunder said.
The Akali leaders cautioned the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann against “pushing an already anarchy-stricken Punjab state into the flames of communal fire”. The Akali leaders said it was surprising the CM defied and disrespected the strong advice of the Jathedar of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib, Raghbir Singh, asking the state government to “stop interfering in the religious affairs of the Sikhs.”
The Akali leaders, the CM knew the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) had already invited all the channels for deciding the next course of action on Gurbani telecast and a crucial meeting in this regard is scheduled for 21 July.
“Then, where was the need for this hurriedly convened session of the Punjab Assembly? He (Mann) knew that the SGPPC was already in the process of implementing the suggestions made by Jathedar Sahib in this regard. But the CM’s motive was to create a confusion among the Sikh masses ….,” Prof Chandumajra said.
The Akali leaders said the party would explore all avenues including meeting the Union Home Minister as well as the National Commission for Minorities. “But if we don’t get justice there, then the Shiromani Akali Dal knows how to fight for justice. We will hit the streets if this attack on our religion is not stopped,” Dr Cheema said.