DW BUREAU / Chandigarh
A high-level delegation of Shiromani Akali DaI (SAD) led by its President S. Sukhbir Singh Badal today urged union minister of home affairs Amit Shah to constitute a national level celebrations’ committee to commemorate the 400th birth anniversary of ninth Sikh guru Shri Guru Teg Bahadur ji in a most befitting manner across the country.
The SAD delegation, comprising the senior SAD leadership, presidents of SGPC, DSGMC and heads of Takhat Sri Hazoor Sahib and Takht Sri Patna Sahib also requested the Home Minister to intervene and expedite the matter of clemency of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana with the competent authority to commute the death penalty awarded to him and ensure his release from prison at the earliest.
The SAD delegation apprised the union minister about the approaching 399th Parkash Purb of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji Maharaj on April 12, 2020. It said that this occasion symbolized the spirit of selfless sacrifice in defense of the defenseless against repression and tyranny. “Guru Teg Bahadur laid down his life in the fight against religious bigotry, sectarian hatred and violence,” it said adding that Guru Sahib came to the defense of helpless Kashmiri Pandits who were facing forcible religious conversions.
Apprising Mr Amit Shah about the solemn and sacred anniversary of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur ji which is being celebrated as a year-long event by the Sikh community across the world, SAD President Sukhbir Badal requested that the Union government constitute a national level celebrations’ committee to organize this event in a most befitting manner to give an appropriate tribute to the great Guru as it was done for 550th Parkash Purb celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji. The SAD delegation also urged the home minister for setting up a National Integration Memorial in New Delhi in the memory of the great Guru besides requesting him to announce a national holiday on this pious occasion.
Taking up the issue of Bhai Rajoana with the union minister, the SAD delegation informed that Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana had already undergone 24 years of imprisonment without any parole. It said a clemency petition under article 72 of the Constitution of India was filed by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on 25.03.2012, before the President which was still pending. It also disclosed that the commutation of death penalty of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana was announced as a goodwill gesture on the pious occasion of 550th years of celebrations of Parkash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji.
The SAD President also took up the issue of denial of permission to the SGPC delegation to visit Nankana Sahib to assess the ground situation after the recent attack on Gurdwara Janam Asthan as well as targeting of members of the Sikh community. Mr Sukhbir Badal urged the home minister to take up the issue with the Pakistan authorities and also ask the Pak government to take concrete steps to ensure the safety and security of members of the Sikh community as well as other minorities in Pakistan.