New Delhi, Jan 12 : A delegation of Shiromani Akali DaI led by its President Sukhbir Badal on Sunday urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to form a national-level celebrations’ committee to commemorate the 400th birth anniversary of ninth Sikh guru Shri Guru Teg Bahadur ji in the 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 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 Guru Teg Bahadur Maharaj on April 12.
It said that this occasion symbolised the spirit of selfless sacrifice in defence of the defenceless 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 defence of helpless Kashmiri Pandits who were facing forcible religious conversions.
Apprising Shah about the solemn and sacred anniversary of Guru Teg Bahadur, which is being celebrated as a year-long event by the Sikh community across the world, the SAD President requested that the Union government constitute a national level celebrations’ committee to organize this event in the most befitting manner to give an appropriate tribute to the great guru as it was done for 550th Parkash Purb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
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 the occasion.
Taking up the issue of Rajoana with the Union minister, the SAD delegation said that Rajoana had already undergone 24 years of imprisonment without any parole.
It said a clemency petition under Article 72 of the Constitution was filed by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on March 25, 2012, before the President which was still pending.
It also disclosed that the commutation of death penalty of Rajoana was announced as a goodwill gesture on the pious occasion of 550th years of celebrations of Parkash Purb of Guru Nanak Dev.
The SAD President also took up Pakistan’s 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.
Sukhbir Badal urged the Home Minister to take up the issue with the Pakistan authorities and also ask that government to take concrete steps to ensure the safety and security of members of the Sikh community as well as other minorities in Pakistan.