SGPC to display portraits of Behbal Kalan police firing victims at Golden Temple museum

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SGPC to display portraits of Behbal Kalan police firing victims at Golden Temple museum
© Provided by Hindustan Times SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami addressing a press conference after the apex gurdwara body’s executive committee meeting in Amritsar. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Ahead of the Punjab assembly polls, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Friday resolved to display portraits of Krishan Bhagwan Singh and Gurjeet Singh — anti-sacrilege protesters killed in police firing at Behbal Kalan in Faridkot in 2015 — in the Central Sikh Museum at the Golden Temple complex.

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This is for the first time that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-controlled apex Sikh body has made such a gesture to pay tribute to the victims of police firing that had happened during the SAD regime and was seen as a major reason for its poor showing in the 2017 assembly elections.

The resolution was passed during the meeting of the SGPC executive committee at its head office in Amritsar. Hailing both as “martyrs”, SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami said: “Meeting a long-pending demand, approval has been given to display the portraits of Bhai Krishan Bhagwan Singh and Bhai Gurjeet Singh, who were martyred at Behbal Kalan in police firing during protest against the Bargari sacrilege, at the Central Sikh Museum.”

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Delhi govt condemned over Bhullar’s case

In another resolution passed in the meeting, the SGPC blamed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the national capital for the cancellation of release of 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict Davinderpal Singh Bhullar, who is undergoing life imprisonment after the Supreme Court commuted his death sentence.

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Accusing the Arvind Kejriwal-led government of “playing with the Sikh sentiments”, the SGPC said that the AAP’s anti-Sikh attitude “has now been exposed” and the Union government should intervene in the case.

“On the one hand, Kishori Lal, a convict in the 1984 Sikh genocide case at Kalyan Puri, Delhi, has been granted parole and furlough several times by the Delhi government, while on the other, despite removal of all the restrictions, the release of Sikh prisoner Bhullar is being obstructed,” said Dhami, while disclosing proceedings of the meeting.

He said the release of Sikh prisoners was announced by the Government of India in 2019, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, but Delhi’s Kejriwal government is “not clearing” Bhullar’s file.

He said the SGPC will also take up the matter with the Centre and necessary legal action will also be taken. “The statement made by Kejriwal in the past of giving clean chit to the Congress in the 1984 Sikh Genocide also showed his anti-Sikh mentality. Sikhs would never forgive such a person with double standards,” he said, while demanding that along with Bhullar, all Sikh prisoners who have completed their sentence should be released.

‘Centre should rename Veer Baal Diwas’

The SGPC executive committee also appealed to the Centre to rename “Veer Baal Diwas” that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to commemorate the martyrdom day of Sahibzadas (sons) of Guru Gobind Singh on December 26. “The day must be renamed on the basis of opinion given by Sikh organisations under the leadership of Akal Takht Sahib jathedar,” said Dhami.

Dhami said the SGPC had also taken a strict note of distortion of Gurbani verses by a Rajasthan-based dera of Swami Brahmdev, following which an apology has been submitted on Friday. He also announced a sub-committee to look into “strongly condemnable” action of making Sikh candidates remove their articles of faith before appearing for competitive examinations in different states.

Dhami also released the book “Truth About Nabha: The tale of betrayal with Maharaja Ripudaman Singh by British Empire”, which has been republished by the SGPC after a century.

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