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SGPC/Akal Thakt attitudes re: British Raj and Congress

Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

Whilst, any Sikh has clear reservations concerning the Gandhi family and the events of the 1980s -what are the views of the Sikhs concerning the relics of the British Raj?

It wasn't so long ago when the Queen Mother was permitted to enter the Harimandir Sahib with her socks on -something that she tried to do latter at a local Mosque in the UK, but the Muslims remained steadfast to their protocol and refused to accept such conditions.

Given the impact that the British had on the history of the Sikh people, what are the real opinions towards the remnants of Colonial power that survive today?

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Copyright 1998 Financial Times Information

All rights reserved

Global News Wire

Copyright 1998 The Hindu.

The Hindu

September 18, 1998



By Our Staff Correspondent ANANDPUR SAHIB (ROPAR), Sept 17.

The apex body, which manages historic Sikh shrines in Punjab, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), would not accord any official reception to the Congress president, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, on her visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar scheduled for October 4. However, the State Government has ordered elaborate security arrangements for the visit.

Talking to The Hindu,the SGPC chief, Mr. G. S. Tohra, ruled out the possibility of the Committee extending an official welcome to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and bestowing her with the traditional "siropa" (robes of honour). He said she was free to visit the Golden Temple as any other devotee, "but would not get a reception which is normally given to a VIP".

Justifying his stand on the issue, Mr. Tohra said Mrs. Sonia Gandhi belonged to a family which was solely responsible for the largescale loss of life and property of the Sikh community. "The Sikhs can never forget the damage caused to them at the behest of her family", he added.

In response to a question on SGPC's unprecedented welcome to the Queen of England, recently, Mr. Tohra retorted that the Queen did not have any blood of the Indian people on her hands and also that the British monarch was only a titular head. He refused to accept that on the same grounds Mrs. Gandhi should also be received. "For 13 years she remained a mute witness to the intrigues that led to the butchering of Sikhs and denigration of their institutions and now for mere political reasons she has remembered the Golden Temple", he stated.

When reminded that Mrs. Sonia Gandhi had apologised for the "Operation Bluestar", the SGPC chief said she merely described the army action on the "holiest of the holy" Sikh shrine as "unfortunate" which many people have been doing since 1984. "However, even if she apologises now, it would not change our decision. The Sikhs have not forgotten the tyranny of Aurangzeb, neither would they forget the Gandhi family", he stressed.

On the possibility of the dismissal of the Rabri Devi Government in Bihar, Mr. Tohra said the Akali Dal had always opposed the use of Article 356 by the Centre to pull down State Governments. He said the Akali Dal was steadfast on its demand of scrapping off the provision in the Constitution, which the Congress had repeatedly misused to dismiss Akali governments in Punjab. He was surprised that the BJP which, till recently, had supported the Akali Dal's demand on the issue, was on the verge of using the constitutional clause. "Any such decision would only stifle democracy", he warned.

Mr. Tohra reiterated that the BJP and the Congress were alike as far as the attitude to deal with the issues of Punjab, especially the Sikhs, were concerned. He said if the BJP leadership had acted upon the list of demands he had submitted to the Prime Minister recently, the party would have gained major mileage all over the country. He said the possibility of the BJP and the Congress joining hands for getting the Uttaranchal Bill carried in the Assembly and then in Parliament was another example to substantiate his charge.

He said both parties would guard their interests in keeping Hardwar out, while the Akali interest as regards the exclusion of Udhamsingh Nagar district from the proposed State would be ignored. He reiterated that the Akali Dal would oppose "tooth and nail" the Uttaranchal Bill in its present form.

Mr. Tohra refused to comment on the recent controversy that has arisen out of the major differences and counter allegations between the Jathedars (chiefs) of the three Takhats (temporal seats). He said the matter had been resolved amicably, but refused to divulge any details of the compromise that he claimed to have reached.

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