‘Playing with fire’: Badal slams Congress for Sikh Act amendment

Amrtisar,Punjab: chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday warned that the move to amend the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Act, 1971, could disturb the ‘hard-earned peace’ of the state, and said the Congress leadership should refrain from ‘playing with fire’.

‘The proposed move to amend the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1971 by the Congress government in Delhi stands testimony to the fact that the Congress is meddling in the religious affairs of Sikhs, thereby inciting their religious passions, which can never be tolerated,’ Badal said.

He was talking to reporters after inaugurating the Punjab Institute of Technology in Bhikhiwind. Badal was talking about the Delhi government’s decision to amend the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1971, to increase the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) house term from two to four years and make the election of its president direct.

Currently, the chief is elected by DSGMC members.

He alleged that Punjab had on previous occasions borne too much of the brunt of terrorism because of such ‘misdeeds of the Congress’, which adversely affected the peace, brotherhood, harmony and progress of the state.

‘However, Congress leaders have hardly learned any lesson from the past… and are hurting the sentiments of Sikhs by moving such proposals,’ he said.

The chief minister claimed that by introducing such an amendment, the Congress solely aimed to benefit their B-team, referring to SAD (Delhi), led by DSGMC chief Paramjeet Singh Sarna and company, who he said were working at the behest of the Congress leadership to weaken the Panth (sikh community).

Badal said he would soon meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to seek their immediate intervention in the matter, to ensure it is tackled before it snowballs into a major political issue.

He said it was the duty of all Punjabis to preserve the hard earned peace and communal harmony in the state by curbing the ‘nefarious designs of anti- Punjab forces, which are bent upon derailing its development’.

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal had recently said the DGMSC president could not be chosen through a direct election, adding that ‘in every democratic institution, right from the panchayat, assembly to the Lok Sabha, the leader of the House is elected by the majority’.

Accusing successive Congress governments of pursuing lopsided development policies, Badal said the alleged apathy of the Congress leadership had pushed the border areas and those in Kandi behind in development.

The chief minister also lashed out at Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi in the wake of his multiple visits to Punjab recently.

He said rather than introspecting on the reasons of his party’s defeat in Punjab, Rahul should ‘peep into his conscience to find the reasons why his party was neck-deep in corruption at the national level’.

‘Rahul must remember that the sole reason behind the Congress’ debacle in every poll is that the countrymen are fed up of its anti-poor policies and rampant corruption of the UPA government,’ he said.

Rahul’s frequent visits to the state would hardly make any impact on the political scenario of Punjab, he added. 



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