Sikh leadership remains behind the bars
Gurdaspur, Punjab (April 08, 2012): The last rites, called ‘bhog’ ceremony, of Bhai Jaspal Singh (18), who was killed by police firing during Gurdaspur incident on March 29, was observed at his native village Jorh Sidhwan, near Gurdaspur on April 07, 2012. Jaspal Singh was shot at while he was participating in peaceful protest opposing hanging of Sikh political prisoner Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana.
“Gurdaspur was converted into a virtual police cantonment due to elaborate security arrangements administration in and around the town, with shops opening during the day” reports HT.
“As a precautionary measure, all local private schools observed a holiday on Saturday.
Representatives of Sikh ‘sangats’ from as far as France, England and Canada offered help for the victim families of deceased Jaspal Singh as well as Ranjit Singh, a resident of Pandher village near Gurdaspur who is under treatment at government hospital in Amritsar. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee also announced some help for the families.
All India Sikh Students Federation (Peer Mohammad faction) chief Karnail Singh Peer Mohammed announced annual scholarships to three top students of local Beant College of Engineering and Technology, where Jaspal Singh was a student.
Addressing the gathering, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh declared Jaspal a ‘Sikh martyr’ and paid rich tributes to him on behalf of Sikh leaders who had assembled there.
Thanking Sikh organisations for their whole-hearted support, he also appealed to the Sikhs to maintain peace in the world.
As per media reports Jathedar was the only speaker scheduled to address the gathering. Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann, who was also present, asked for time to address the gathering but his request was turned down by the organisers.
After the Akal Takht Jathedar and others left the function, a supporter of Mann appealed to the people left behind in the ‘pandal’ to sit down and listen to the SAD (A) leader who had come especially for the purpose.
In his brief address, Mann asked the gathering if they were in favour of making Balwant Singh Rajoana the Akal Takht Jathedar. The people present there supported his proposal by raising slogans. Slogans in favour Of proposed Sikh state, Khalistan, were also raised.
SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, Akali Dal Panch Pardhani secretary Baldev Singh Sirsa, Dal Khalsa president Harcharanjit Singh Dhami and spokesman Kanwarpal Singh, former Akal Takht jathedars Bhai Jasbir Singh Rodhe and Bhai Ranjit Singh, Sant Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale, Sant Amrik Singh of Nikke Ghumman, SAD (1920) leader Manjit Singh Calcutta, former Punjab minister Sucha Singh Chhotepur and local MLA Gurbachan Singh Babbehali were also present.
Many prominent Sikh leaders are still kept under “preventive detention” by Badal-BJP led Punjab government. These leaders include Panch Pardhani head Bhai Daljit Singh, Baba Baljeet Singh Daduwal, Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema and others. Sikh body Dal Khalsa in a statement alleged that Government was attempting to prevent leadership from attending bhog ceremony of Bhai Jaspal Singh in order to breakdown mass movement.