SAD proposals to panel on Sikh identity

Amritsar,Punjab: Even as the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has not come out openly with a statement against the claims of the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, in offshoot of the RSS, that the Sikhs are descendants of Luv and Kush”, the stand of the SAD headed by Mr Badal is clear that the Sikhs are a distinct identity.

The proposals of the SAD, submitted to the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) under seal and signed by Mr Badal hardly leaves any room for discussion on this issue.

The proposals, reportedly drafted by Sikh intellectuals, especially Mr H.S. Mattewal, Punjab Advocate-General, have said that the Sikhs enjoy a separate status. Page six of the proposals reads: “Earlier, at the annual session of the Congress at Lahore in 1929, when complete independence was declared to be the political goal of the Congress, an assurance was given to the Sikhs and Muslims that no future constitution would be acceptable to the Congress without their consent”. The proposals enlisted the promises made to the Sikhs by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders before the Partition which showed the “separate identity of the Sikhs.

However, the point which is being exploited by the RSS is that Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi, Golden Temple, during his tenure as Jathedar Akal Takht had once stated that “the Sikhs are descendants of Luv and Kush”. RSS activists say though Giani Puran Singh had openly said that the Sikhs were descendants of Hindus, the radicals had been raising a hue and cry on the issue.

A few days after taking over as SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi had taken a clear stand against the RSS. He had said it had no locus standi to interfere in Sikh affairs.

The Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, who initially dithered on this issue, also said the RSS was increasingly interfering in Sikh affairs. He had directed the SAD to incorporate the “separate identity of Sikhs” at the time of reviewing the Indian Constitution.

Sikh scholars feel that after the landmark judgement of the Supreme Court delivered on March 29 which had considered Guru Granth Sahib as jurisdic person, nobody could raise a legal point on the separate identity of the Sikhs. The judgement read: “Guru Granth Sahib can not be equated with any other sacred book such as the Gita, the Bible or the Koran or with an idol”.

The SAD proposals also plead for the rephrasing of explanation II of the Article 25(IB) which clubs Sikhs with Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.

Though the SAD has already conveyed its stand to the review commission on the separate identity of the Sikhs, Mr Badal wants to keep a low profile as his party has an alliance with the BJP.

Source: The Tribune

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