The protest which began over a clean chit to Dera Sachcha Sauda chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim took a violent turn when some foreign backed anarchists insulted Shri Guru Granth Saheb. A thorough CBI and IB probe can only expose the whole game plan.
Punjab is once again on the boil. The protest demonstrations and firing after the apology by Dera Sachcha Sauda, obstructions on Beas and Hari bridges, anger against religious and political leaders, etc all indicate to a situation of anarchy in the State. A senior Pakistani police officer instigating Punjab Police force and unfurling of the separatists flag by some elements further worsened the situation. During the yester year terrorism, a generation of youth was destroyed in Punjab pushing the State backward for 50 years in respect of development. Those who have witnessed those grim days shiver with the very thought of its revival. Sikhs living outside Punjab also seem to be very
The root of all these disturbances was the clean chit given to Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim by five Singh Sahiban. If one goes by the criticism and comments on this one infers that general public was more perturbed the way this clean chit was given. They felt this lowered the prestige of Shri Akal Takht Sahib and hurt the Gurmati tradition. In Sikh tradition, if a Sikh breaks or dishonours any tradition he has to present himself before the ‘Panch Pyare’ and accept his guilt. They give him certain punishment based on the seriousness of the guilt which is known as ‘Tankha’. Under this remorseful punishment the guilty has to clean utensils, wash floors or even polish the shoes at the Gurudwara. The punishment is aimed at annihilating his pride and making him humble and pure at heart. Famous Sikh leaders like Sardar Buta Singh, Sardar Prakash Singh Badal and many others have followed this ‘Tankha’. This has not happened in case of Gurmeet Ram Rahim. He did not present himself in front of the ‘Panch Pyare’ and without that obtained the clean chit.
Everyone saw on social media how this was written on a plain paper and even the name was added later on. Earlier, former Jatthedar of Akal Takht Prof Darshan Singh was not absolved because he did not present himself before the ‘Panch Pyare’ though he had come to Darbar Sahib with family. Ram Rahim Singh wrote a letter but he was not absolved till then. One of the objections in his case was that Ram Rahim donned like Guru Govind Singh, served ‘Jaam-e-Insa’ on the lines of ‘Amrutpaan’ offered by Guru Govind Singh to the ‘Panch Pyare’. Ram Rahim also had his own ‘Saat Insa’ to whom he served this ‘Jaam-e-Insa’. This aping was not liked by the Sikhs. The Sikh tradition does not permit any one to don like Guru Govind Singh even in dramas and plays.
Moreover his entry into the movie world and his stunts etc. performed for fame and publicity damaged his image in the Sikh tradition. Against this background the clean chit given to him was unacceptable to anyone. For the first time it has happened in the history of Sikh tradition that the decree of absolving anyone was negated by entire Sikh society.
The sad commentary of this action was its adverse impact on the credibility of the religious leadership. Earlier also there were some allegations made against this supreme religious body, but this action has eroded credibility of the Akal Takht and its Jatthedar.
Another democratic institution of Sikh society is Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). This is known as the Parliament of Sikhs. Their credibility has also suffered a blow in this event. Resignation by many of its elected members; suspension of five of its employees, who were functioning as Punch Pyare in Shri Akal Takht Saheb and their reinstatement, and cancellation of SGPC meeting, have made a serious dent into its credibility and prestige.
Furthermore, the unfortunate events related to tearing of pages from the holy Guru Granth Sahib invited a very violent response and that was natural. The Punjab Police, which remained proactive during the farmer agitation, assumed a drastic role in this movement and two people were killed in the firing. Such an unfortunate incident could have been averted.
State government has constituted a Commissin of Inquiry to probe the firing and deaths in this event. The probe panel and central government should go into the depth of this malady and find out the elements, who dishonoured the Guru Granth Sahib. Because the serial incidences after Bagrari incident (Faridkot) such as Nijharkalan, Baat of Tarantaran Didtrict and 20 Ghavandi of Ludhiana District smell well thought conspiracy. The Hindus of Punjab revere and respect the Holy Book like the Sikh community. Not only this, no one from the other faiths can insult the Holy book because of its all encompassing language and preaching. Such a heinous crime can be committed most likely by anarchist elements supported by Pakistan. They are interested in spreading anarchy in Punjab and encourage separatism. Police have arrested some of them and brought forth some facts that substantiate this observation. But the sorry state of affairs is that those opposing this have no faith in Punjab Police.
Secondly the Sikhs staying abroad, who are financially well off, have been demanding a seperate Sikh country to address their problems especially with Governments where they reside. During last few days the terrorists in Pakistan are constantly under pressure to show some results of their activities. They are now trying to vitiate the atmosphere in Punjab. Such elements, who have left Bharat due to livelihood but by dint of hard work earned enough wealth there, influence the religious leadership and also dominate the social media and want to raise the flag of separatism in Punjab once again. Another reason is the growing influence of drugs on the young generation, especially in border areas. It is alleged that this illicit trade is thriving under political patronage. This has made the common man most angry. The unholy nexus between real estate, construction industry and politicians besides political interference in legal justice system have angered the common man against the politicians.
It is not so that all this have made the situation uncontrollable. Sardar Prakash Singh Badal wields influence in rural and interior areas of the State. He personally has born the menace of terrorism and separatism. The way he understands the seriousness of this problem no other politician does. I have suggested him on phone that he must take initiative and control the situation. For this Shri Badal will have to replace some of the allegedly tainted Cabinet colleagues. Resignation by Akal Takht Jatthedar also can be
a better situation.
Initial probe has revealed the hand of some foreign elements in the insult of Guru Granth Sahib. Central Government through CBI and IB should conduct a thorough enquiry into this. Punjab is not merely a piece of land producing food grains for Bharat. This land has produced great saints of humanity like Guru Nanak Dev who revived the cultural and spiritual heritage of Hindustan; Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Teg Bahadur sacrificed their lives and Guru Govind Singh set up Khalsa Panth to uphold the eternal principles of Hindu Dharma failing which this country would not have been a secular democracy. The role Punjab played during freedom struggle and after Independence cannot be ignored. That is why Punjab needs to be saved from this doom.
Gurcharan Singh Gill (The writer is a senior advocate in Rajasthan High Court and also national president of Rashtriya Sikh Sangat)