Winding up the 192-day “Insaaf Morcha” at Bargari to press for action against those responsible for the acts of sacrilege in 2015, “parallel acting Akal Takht jathedar” Dhian Singh Mand today said he had not reached a “tactical understanding with the Punjab government. We are not ending the morcha but entering a new phase of struggle for greater success”.
No end to Bargari protest, only change of course
In his address Dhian Singh Mand said, “We are not ending morcha but we’re changing its outline. No ‘tactical dealing’ with the state government. From today, the morcha will take new turn. Announcement regarding this will be made in the days to come.”
He said the next phase would be announced after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple on Tuesday. Even as the gathering seemed unimpressed, Mand explained they had modified their strategy in the “larger interests of the Panth to force those resisting the arrest of the people behind sacrilege cases, action against police officials who opened fire at Behbal Kalan and release of Sikh prisoners to give in”.
Congress Cabinet Ministers Address
Before Mand’s announcement, Congress ministers Sukhjinder Randhawa and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa told the protesters that the demands of their leaders had been accepted. Not convinced, people began to walk away even as Panthic leaders Simranjit Singh Mann (SAD-Amritsar chief) and Baljit Singh Daduwal tried to mollify the crowd.
Randhawa and Bajwa assured that the government had decided to cancel the cases registered against Sikhs under Section 295-A of the IPC (hurting religious sentiments) on the complaint of Dera Sacha Sauda followers, to rechristen Bargari as Bargari Sahib and award compensation to those injured in the Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura police firing.
“All 23 culprits in the sacrilege cases have been arrested. A battery of senior lawyers will oppose the stay on the arrest of four police officers held ‘guilty’ of police firing,” Randhawa tried to convince the gathering.
On the Sikh prisoners, he claimed the government would introduce a Bill to ensure their release or transfer to Punjab.
When Daduwal pointed out that the protesters wanted to see the Badals arrested in sacrilege cases, the minister said an SIT was probing their role.
Initial Demands of Bargari Morcha
It may be recalled here that Bhai Dhian Singh Mand had started a peaceful agitation seeking the following demands:
- Release of political Sikh prisoners languishing in jails
- Arrest and Punishment to those who committed sacrilege of a holy corpus of Sri Guru Granth Sahib stolen from village Burj Jawahar Singh Wala
- The arrest of Police cops who opened fire on peacefully protesting Sikhs at Kotkapura and Behbal Klan
Till date, the Punjab government has only arrested Sirsa cult affiliated sacrilege culprits but failed to take any action against those ordering the sacrilege while sitting in the headquarters of Sirsa cult. Beside it, the Punjab government has recently ordered the release of political Sikh prisoner Bhai Dilbag Singh Bagaa while promising of releasing several others.
Bargari Morcha should be lifted only if all demands are met, says Sukhpal Khaira
LIP chief and MLA Simranjeet Singh Bains said, “Policemen behind Behbal Kalan firing have not been punished, Badals have not been indicted. So what is the reason to end the Morcha?”
Khaira said, “I think the Morcha should be lifted only when all the demands are actually met, as mere promises from the government are never fulfilled.”