Chandigarh,August 14 – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today met Home minister Rajnath Singh along with a high level party delegation and urged him to resolve all pending issues of the Sikh community submitted to the ministry of home affairs by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) at the earliest.
The SAD delegation also presented a memorandum along with SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal which called for formation of a special court for day to day trial of all cases of 1984 Sikh genocide in Delhi to ensure time bound delivery of justice. It also urged for commuting Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana’s sentence to life imprisonment while pointing out that he was already incarcerated for 21 years. It also called for release of all Sikh prisoners languishing in various jails in India even after completion of their jail terms.
The representation while urging the Home minister to examine these issues expeditiously, said they were linked with the sentiments of the Sikh community. The SGPC president brought it to the notice of Shri Rajnath Singh that these cases were being pursued by the religious organization with the home ministry continuously.
The delegation members, including Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Balwinder Singh Bhundur, Naresh Gujral, Manjit Singh GK and Tarlochan Singh, urged the centre to pay compensation to all Jodhpur Sikh detainees saying only 40 detainees out of total of 365 had been paid compensation. It also urged for citizenship to all Hindu and Sikhs who had been forced out of Afghanistan since 1989 besides restoration of Gurdwara Dong Maar Sahib and hand over of its management to the Sikh community.
The delegation took up the issue of free passage to Gurdwara Kartarpur in Pakistan from Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side. It said Kartarpur housed the Gurdwara related to Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji, the founder of Sikhism. It said with the 550 th birth anniversary of the great Guru being celebrated in 2019 there was a huge demand from Sikhs worldwide that a corridor be provided from Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpur to allow devotees free access to the religious site. It also briefed Shri Rajnath Singh as to how Sikhs were being discriminated against in Jammu and Kashmir and urged they be granted micro minority status to get fair representation in government jobs and schemes.
The delegation also asked the Home minister to look into the plea of the SGPC and ask the Maharashtra government to review its decision to amend the Takth Sri Hazur Sahib Abchalnagar Sahib Board, Nanded Act 1956 which was yet to be passed by the State assembly. It said as per the proposal the State government wished to nominate six more members to the Board which was being objected to by the SGPC as well as the Sikh ‘sangat’ worldwide. It also brought the decision of the UT Chandigarh administration to amend its motor vehicle act to exempt only women wearing turban or headgear from wearing helmets while driving two wheelers to the notice of the home minister. It said Sikh women could not wear a helmet which was like a cap and symbolized slavery in their religion and urged this notification be withdrawn.
The delegation also urged the home minister to ensure the rights and security of Sikhs who were being asked to shift from their houses in Sikkim. It also pointed out that the Mumbai administration was trying to forcibly shift Sikhs residing in a colony in the heart of the city which was earlier a refugee camp before the community bought ownership rights in 1957. It urged the home minister to intervene and ensure this move was stopped
Afghanistan Sikh Association representatives Khajinder Singh and Tarvinder Singh also formed part of the delegation.