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Badals trying to "sabotage" joint celebrations of Guru Nanak's birth anniversary: Pb minister

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 25, 2019  | 19:01 IST

Chandigarh, Sep 25 (PTI) Punjab Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Wednesday accused the Badal family of trying to "sabotage" the joint celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev. His statement came after the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee extended the invitation for the celebrations to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi without informing the state government. "With the unilateral action of inviting the president and the prime minister, the SGPC was itself violating the unanimous decision taken under the aegis of the Akal Takht for the joint celebrations," said Randhawa in a press release. He alleged that SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal "pressured" SGPC Gobind Singh Longowal to accompany them for the same. "The Badal family has sabotaged the decision to seek the restoration of its own legitimacy in the Sikh political space and dominate the historic occasion," alleged Randhawa. The minister said Parkash Singh Badal, who was the chief minister in 1999, had similarly "sabotaged" the joint celebrations of the Khalsa tercentenary by sacking the then Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh and the then SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra. In a letter to Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, the minister has sought his intervention and explanation from SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal for allegedly violating the decision of the joint celebrations in November. The minister said it was decided to hold the celebrations jointly and the initiative for the same had come from the Akal Takht Jathedar to which the state government had responded positively. It was also decided that the SGPC would be entrusted with the religious aspect at the joint stage while the state government would look after other arrangements of the function, he said. The details, including extending invitations to dignitaries, were to be worked out at the next meeting to be chaired by Jathedar Harpreet Singh with the participation of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Gobind Singh Longowal, said Randhawa. The SGPC was to implement directions of the Akal Takht but Longowal was functioning "under the diktats" of the Badal family, Randhawa alleged. Randhawa said the state government was all out to jointly organise the November 12 celebrations provided Longowal stopped functioning as a "puppet" of the Badal family. On September 17, Randhawa had attended the meeting of coordination panel for the first time as a representative of the state government. The SGPC had decided to hold the main event at a stadium near Gurdwara Ber Sahib in Sultanpur Lodhi on November 12 while the state government wanted to hold the function near a “tent city” coming up there. PTI CHS RDK RDK

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