AFTER REMAINING MUM on incessant attacks against Muslims, several incidents of lynching in which people from minority community were accused of smuggling cows for slaughtering, and after having voted in favour of scrapping of Art 370, reducing Jammu and Kashmir to a Union Territory and backing the dreaded CAA-NRC legislation, the Akali Dal finally seems to be finding its politics.
The SGPC, dominated by the Akali Dal and led by senior Akali Dal leader and a Badal-acolyte Jagir Kaur, on Tuesday passed a resolution condemning what it called “attempts of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh to turn India into a Hindu Rashtra”.
“India is a multi-religious, multilingual and multi-ethnic country. Every religion has made a great contribution to its freedom, especially the Sikh community, which has made more than 80 per cent sacrifices. But sadly, for a long time now, religious freedom of other religions has been suppressed in the wake of the RSS’s move to make the country a Hindu Rashtra. Minorities are being targeted through direct and indirect intervention,” read a resolution regarding the RSS.
The Resolutions were passed without much discussion, there was no specific mention of even one of the incessant attacks on Muslim citizens, no one uttered the words Islam or Muslim, and there was no explanation why Jagir Kaur’s party voted in favour of Modi-Amit Shah government’s legislation on Art 370 and CAA-NRC.
Local journalists, sticking to the almost time honoured tradition of ‘Let us not give the Vatican a hard time’, did not press any such queries.
“Minority community” is almost a code word in Indian politics for followers of Islam. Politicians and political parties rarely refer to Muslims as such, and arguments for granting them citizen rights and liberties are often articulated in the ‘Hum Bharat Ke Log‘ euphemisms.
The SGPC resolution asked the Centre to “work for the protection of the rights and freedom of all religions instead of being ready to implement the efforts initiated by the RSS.”
“All those elements who try to suppress the minorities should be punished,” said a resolution. Experts said more specific semantics would have underlined the intent better. “Why is the Akali Dal and the SGPC not saying, for God’s sake, “Stop This Violence Against Muslims” and “Stop This Hate Propaganda Against Muslims”?” asked a Panjab University professor.
Through another resolution, the SGPC slammed the Modi-led government for restricting the group of pilgrims headed to Pakistan to mark the 100th anniversary of Saka Nankana Sahib in February this year, and called it an “action taken along the lines of the British and the Mughals.” It asked the Central government to apologize to the Sikh community, but did not say what consequences will follow if no such apology was forthcoming.
When Punjab Today reached out to an Amritsar-based senior journalist to ask why Jagir Kaur was not made to face tougher questions about its earlier silence, he said, “Well, it only looks like Jagir Kaur’s SGPC but you know whose jagir SGPC really is? They have to save their own jagirs first, including hotels and transport. So every move is a measured one.”
“Na Sikh raj, na Madeene di riyasat. Ethe ta apni vaari da chakkar hai,” he said, adding sometimes you get a turn by working with the RSS, sometimes by working against it.
Yet another resolution urged the United Nations Organization (UNO) to declare 2021 as the “International Human Rights Year” in the context of the 400th birth anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur, falling on May 1.
The SGPC also urged the Centre to establish a ‘Virasat-e-Khalsa’ style monument in the memory of the ninth Guru.
The Sikh gurdwara management body also did not miss the chance to claim its right to carry out certain projects and wanted to work with the Centre for the purpose.
“The day of martyrdom of the ninth Guru should be celebrated as ‘Religious Tolerance Day’ and the Government of India should make the holy baani (Gurbani writings) of the ninth Guru available in libraries all over the world by translating them into major languages. All these works should be done under the supervision of the SGPC. The GOI and the state governments should declare SGPC as the nodal body for the fourth birth centenary celebrations of the ninth Guru, to be held at home and abroad. Apart from this, the road from Agra, the place of arrest of the ninth Guru, to his martyrdom site at Delhi, should be declared as ‘Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Marg’ and from Delhi to Sri Anandpur Sahib as ‘Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Sis Marg’, as his holy ‘Sis’ was carried on this route after the martyrdom,” read the resolution.
It also demanded opening of the Kartarpur corridor and handing over to the SGPC the Gurdwara Gyan Godri, Haridwar (Uttaranchal), Gurdwara Dangmar and Chungthang (Sikkim), Gurdwara Bauli Matth, Mangu Matth and Punjabi Matth (Orissa).
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