Bargari sit-in demanding action against sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib lifted

Chandigarh, December 9: The most peaceful agitation witnessed in Punjab in the Sikh religio-political domain in recent times under the banner of Bargari Insaaf Morcha demanding action against culprits of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib during the Akali Dal government headed by Parkash Singh Badal in 2015 was today lifted.

The next phase of this agitation would be announced shortly that would be the launching of a Panthic political party comprising all the outfits that had been part of this agitation.

This agitation was started by  parallel acting chief of Akal Takht Dhian Singh Mand who sat on dharna in the grain market of Bargari, the epicentre of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib, on June 1 that came to be supported by various Sikh groups and parties barring the outfits like Damdami Taksal associated by Akali Dal.

The withdrawal of agitation of what was described as the Phase I was announced by Mand at a day long congregation today that was attended by Rural and Urban Development Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa who had been holding negotiations with the Bargari leaders from the beginning and Cooperation and Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa who apprised these leaders of the demands that the state government has accepted.

The agitation was on three demands that included action against those responsible for sacrilege and police officials who opened fire on peaceful protesters, independent probe and release of Sikh political prisoners who have completed their term but continue in jail under TADA cases.

The Bargari leaders earlier in the day  had a meeting with the two ministers in which all the issues were sorted out.

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh later complimented Bajwa.

It was under pressure of this agitation that the report of Justice Ranjit Singh Commission on sacrilege and related issues was tabled in the Assembly that was followed by seven hour unprecedented debate during which the Congress members seemed to be more Panthic. The Akali Dal had boycotted the House that day. Badal and his son and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal who was the deputy chief minister holding home department had boycotted the commission.

The commissioned named Badals and former police chief Sumedh Singh Saini in the report. It was this report that finally resulted in turbulence in the Akali Dal leading to revolt by several senior members three of whom including a sitting MP were expelled from the party.

It is the pressure of Bargari Insaaf Morcha that forced Badals to seek atonement for their “mistakes” at Akal Takht yesterday.

The after-shocks of this turbulence are likely to continue to cause upheavals till the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Strategic manoeuvring is a difficult art but Mand has succeeded in giving a new turn to the agitation as prolonging it for too long might have become counter-productive especially when the main demands have been accepted.

Now the law is taking its course and action against the four police officials named in the FIR relating to firing in which two protesters were killed at Behbal Kalan would be initiated after the stay that they have been granted by Punjab and Haryana High Court is lifted. Punjab government engaged heavy-weights in P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal, both former ministers, as the lawyers in this case.

It may be recalled that  Badals had slammed this agitation as conspiracy to spark communal divide in the state and went to the extent of dubbing its leaders as agents of Pakistan spy agency ISI and the Congress. This agitation is in fact targeted against Badals. Both father and son have been questioned during the probe that continues.

This agitation is multi-dimensional.

The shape of the political outfit to be floated and the strategy would be unfolded as part of Phase II of this struggle aimed at getting “Insaaf” to people of Punjab as articulated by Mand.

Jagtar Singh


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