Jalandhar: Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh on Monday, Might 23, stated each Sikh ought to possess a licensed fashionable weapon as a result of “such are the occasions”, drawing criticism from many who questioned the rationale behind such a press release. Many specialists additionally justified it saying that there’s nothing fallacious in retaining weapons for self-defence, contemplating the state of minorities within the nation.

The Akal Takht is the very best temporal seat of Sikhs.

In a video message, Singh stated, “Even right now, there’s a want, particularly for Sikh girls and boys, to observe the orders of Guru Hargobind Singh. They need to take coaching in ‘gatka baazi’ (a standard martial artwork), sword combating and taking pictures. And each Sikh also needs to attempt to possess a licensed fashionable weapon in a authorized approach as a result of such are the occasions and the creating state of affairs is such,” he stated.

Singh was talking on the event of Guru Hargobind Singh’s ‘Gurta Gaddi Diwas’. Guru Hargobind Singh was the sixth of the ten Sikh gurus. Guru Hargobind was executed on the orders of Mughal emperor Jahangir.

Being the pinnacle of Akal Takth, Singh often releases statements on all main Sikh spiritual occasions and in addition on points regarding minorities, society and the nation.

The Akal Takth head, within the video message, additionally stated, “Sikhs ought to study Gurbani, observe spiritual methods of life and steer clear of medicine, which have ruined our homes, conscience and knowledge. The one method to steer clear of medicine is by following the ‘Bana’ or the distinct id by way of clothes and 5 ‘Ks’ of Sikhism. This was the educating of Guru Hargobind Singh.”

Singh had earlier given statements citing the mass killings of Sikhs in 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the assault on Golden Temple in June 1984. He had additionally cornered the Bharatiya Janata Occasion-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (BJP-RSS) for the vilification of minorities within the nation, significantly Muslims. In 2019, Singh had demanded a ban on RSS after its chief Mohan Bhagwat had termed India as a ‘Hindu Rashtra’.

The Akal Takth head’s assertion by the way got here every week earlier than the thirty eighth anniversary of Operation Bluestar (June 1 to June 10), when the then Union authorities had not solely demolished Sri Akal Takth Sahib – the very best establishment of Sikhs – but in addition attacked the Sri Harmandir Sahib, the sacred shrine of the Sikh neighborhood.

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann took robust exception to Singh’s assertion, and urged him to unfold the message of peace, concord and brotherhood in society relatively than asking Sikhs to maintain licensed fashionable weapons.

Mann stated that weapons don’t have anyplace in a congenial and harmonious society. “The Akal Takht head ought to concentrate on spreading the message of Gurbani which envisages ‘Sarbat da Bhalaa’ (welfare of every person). It’s the want of hour to make sure that hard-earned peace of the state is maintained at each price,” he stated in a press assertion.

Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring wrote on Twitter, “With due regards, humbly urge Jathedar Shri Akal Takhat Sahib to inform why Sikh youths must get licensed fashionable weapons? Given the very best temporal place he holds in Sikh neighborhood, his name for contemporary weapons raises concern about any specific menace to the neighborhood.”

Later within the day, Warring demanded the removing of Singh from the exalted place for the sake of peace in Punjab. He wrote on Twitter: “The assertion by Jathedar Sahib about arming youth with fashionable licensed weapons with out explaining info is mischievous and dangerously threatening communal concord. I strongly demand his removing from exalted place for the sake of peace of Punjab, as he’s the mouthpiece of vested powers.”

What did specialists say

Jalandhar-based BBC journalist Pal Singh Nauli stated that after watching Singh’s video, it seems that he issued the assertion retaining in thoughts the nation’s present situation.

“India has regularly turn out to be a harmful nation for minorities. Have a look at the situation of Muslims. The BJP-RSS created a story in opposition to the Muslims after which promoted it by repeatedly intimidating and beating them publicly. In such a situation, evidently Giani Harpreet Singh issued the assertion after deeply excited about all these points. He added that though the Narendra Modi authorities is making determined makes an attempt to woo the Sikhs, however one can not flip a blind eye to the remedy meted out to the minorities within the nation.”

Nauli additionally stated, “Giani Harpreet’s assertion is much like that of [Jarnail Singh] Bhindrawale, when he had instructed the Sikh youth to maintain weapons for self-defence. Nonetheless, the one distinction is that at the moment, Punjab was below the grip of militancy. Additionally, as per Sikh faith, it’s customary for ‘Amritdhari Sikhs’ (baptised Sikhs) to maintain weapons for self-defence and to guard the weak. There may be nothing fallacious in it.”

One other senior journalist and an knowledgeable on Sikh affairs, Gurbachan Singh, stated that it’s the accountability of Giani Harpeet Singh to make clear the background of his assertion. “I really feel it’s not sensible recommendation. The Akal Takth chief’s assertion can have wild repercussions. The actual drawback is that he issued this assertion days earlier than the anniversary of Operation Bluestar on June 6. Sikhs internationally maintain massive congregations to look at at the present time. So, Giani Harpreet’s assertion holds extra significance. He ought to clarify what are the form of risks about which he made a veiled reference by saying the ‘time forward just isn’t good’. Already we all know how central businesses stay looking out to foment bother in Punjab. All of the sudden the ‘Khalistan narrative’ got here into the image and Sikhs have been being focused. Issuing such a press release can truly show deceptive.”

Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, the granddaughter of Grasp Tara Singh, who was one of many founding members of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) stated, “Who doesn’t know the way Sikhs have been killed and attacked in November 1984? Had the Sikhs saved weapons at the moment, the quantity of loss wouldn’t have been so extreme. I believe that if legislation and order issues deteriorate, there may be nothing fallacious with retaining licensed weapons for self-defence. In spite of everything weapons aren’t toys. One wants permission and police clearance to make use of them. Additionally, as per Sikh spiritual historical past and traditions, it’s a should for Amritdhari Sikhs to maintain weapons. Even the Akal Takth pays obeisance to ‘shastra’ (conventional Sikh weapons). Weapons aren’t banned in Sikhism.”

Former SGPC chief and former SAD MLA, Bibi Jagir Kaur, additionally defended Giani Harpreet Singh’s assertion and stated that he was merely asking the Sikhs to maintain ‘licensed’ weapons, that too for self-defence.

“Although it’s only Giani Harpreet who can make clear through which context he made this assertion, however positively, it seems that he has no fallacious intention. He didn’t challenge an edict (Hukumnama) for the Sikh neighborhood to maintain weapons. It’s an attraction to maintain them for self-defence. Contemplating how the medicine menace, murders and robberies are rising, I believe there is no such thing as a hurt in retaining fashionable licensed weapons. Media also needs to abstain from leaping to conclusions,” she stated.

Later within the night, the SGPC additionally tweeted the Akal Takht head’s video from its official Twitter deal with.

SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami refused to touch upon the assertion and stated, “Giani Harpreet Singh alone can say through which context he made this assertion.”

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