Radical Sikh groups close ranks

Chandigarh: Alarmed at reports of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) spreading its wings in the state’s villages and establishing links with various deras, radical Sikh groups, such as the Dal Khalsa, Akali Dal (Panch Pardhani) and Khalsa Panchayat, have decided to close ranks to the counter the rising influence of the RSS in Punjab.

The Delhi Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Paramjit Singh Sarna and Sikhs for Human Rights have decided to back the radicals. Representatives of these groups held a meeting here last week. Former IAS officer Gurtej Singh, who had resigned in protest against Operation Bluestar, said the rise in the RSS activities in Punjab had alarmed various Sikh groups as the RSS did not believe that the Sikhs had a separate identity and that Sikhism was a separate religion. “We are opposed to the RSS propagating that the Sikhs are a part of the Hindu stream and that Sikhism is an offshoot of Hinduism,” he said. Gurtej Singh, a part of the three-member panel set up to formulate a plan to counter the RSS influence, said the panel would come out with a paper in 20 days.

He said various Sikh groups had decided to unite as the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had failed to take up Sikh issues and demands.

“Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has completely surrendered to the BJP and is not prepared to raise Sikh issues and matters related to Punjab at the national level,” Gurtej Singh said.

He claimed Badal’s clout at the national level had diminished. “Punjab’s economic and political decline is of concern for all us and we are keen to come out with a strategy to ensure Punjab reclaims the top spot in the country,” he said. Radical groups are unhappy at the BJP’s persistent efforts to win the support of religious deras. Radical Sikhs have serious differences with heads of several dears. There have been violent clashes between dera supporters and Sikh groups in the past.

Why the alarm

The RSS is spreading wings in the villages and establishing links with various religious deras
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is seen to have failed to take up Sikh issues and demands with the Centre
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s diminishing clout at the national level and Punjab’s economic decline
Dal Khalsa rally on Dec 10

Hoshiarpur: To commemorate the 66th World Human Rights Day, Dal Khalsa will hold march against “fake encounters, illegal detentions and torture in Punjab since 1984.” At a press conference here, Dal president HS Dhami and spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh claimed that thousands of Sikh youths were missing.

They were suspected to have been abducted by government agencies, said Kanwar Pal. He said they planned to hold a rally at Amritsar on December 10 on the occasion of the World Human Rights Day.

Source: The Tribune

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