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HomePolitics'Cowardice': Punjab oppn united in ire over Amritpal carrying Guru Granth Sahib...

‘Cowardice’: Punjab oppn united in ire over Amritpal carrying Guru Granth Sahib to police station

Cops were told that demonstration outside police station would be peaceful, says DGP. Amritpal's associate aide Lovepreet Singh Toofan was released from Amritsar Jail on Friday.

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Chandigarh: With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government under fire for giving in to radical activist Amritpal Singh Sandhu, Punjab Police chief Gaurav Yadav asserted that the main reason that the police could not act on the ground was because of the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib with those who reached the Ajnala police station.

“Punjab Police has shown utmost restraint in dealing with the situation. We had been told that the demonstration outside the police station would be peaceful, and the demonstration was, as a result, permitted. However, the police were attacked with sharp weapons and lathis that led to injuries to six policemen, including our SP Jugraj Singh who is an international hockey player,” Yadav said at a press conference on Friday.

Necessary action would be initiated against those who attacked the policemen, the Punjab DGP said.

The siege at Ajnala has sparked a debate over the appropriateness of Amritpal carrying the Guru Granth Sahib and using it as a “shield” against a possible retaliatory police action. Even the opposition parties have come out to condemn it in their reactions to Thursday’s incident.

Before storming the Ajnala police station, Amritpal and his supporters had arrived with the Guru Granth Sahib in a special vehicle to demand the cancellation of the FIR against him and the release of one of his associates.

What initially looked like a religious jatha (congregation) gave way to Amritpal’s supporters forcing their way into the police station. Flanked by his men carrying automatic weapons, Amritpal was seen pushing the vehicle carrying the Guru Granth Sahib.

Amritpal Singh’s aide Lovepreet Singh Toofan was released from Amritsar Jail on Friday, as promised by the police Thursday evening.

Also Read: Nearly 2 dozen Chandigarh cops hurt in clash with protesters demanding release of Sikh prisoners

Widespread condemnation 

Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh Friday, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal said it was “shocking” for the Sikh community to see the presence of Guru Granth Sahib outside a police station along with hundreds of protesters.

“It is totally unacceptable that Guru Granth Sahib was used as a shield. The act of taking Guru Granth Sahib to a police station where only negative things happen and criminals are remanded is completely wrong. Whenever the Guru Granth Sahib is taken to a place, the people around them have to cover their heads, remove their shoes, and the road ahead is cleaned and sprinkled with water,” he said.

“Look at what happened yesterday. There is a Hukamnama from the Akal Takht banning Sikhs from taking the Guru Granth Sahib to marriage palaces and here the Guru Granth Sahib was taken to a police station? Not just the Shiromani Akali Dal but every Sikh should condemn this in the strongest possible words,” Sukhbir added.

In a statement, former Punjab chief minister and BJP leader Amarinder Singh too questioned the motive behind carrying the Guru Granth Sahib to the protest site. This was unacceptable, he said.

Protesters taking the holy Bir of Guru Granth Sahib to the police station was unprecedented, Congress state president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said. “I appeal to Akal Takhat Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh to take note of the matter and take necessary action also,” Warring said in a statement issued Thursday.

Condemning Amritpal, Warring said the act showed only his cowardice. “If you really have faith in the Holy Guru, you don’t need to carry it to the police station to fight the police,” he told the Sikh radical.

But Amritpal justified his decision saying that the Guru Granth Sahib has been a part of the various morchas in an outside Punjab and was even carried by the Sikh soldiers during the world wars.

“Banda Singh Bahadur was sent by Guru Sahib (Guru Gobind Singh in the presence of the Panj pyaras which are guru roop (like the Guru). During British times, the Guru Granth Sahib was carried by Sikh soldiers to the battle. In all the morchas, whether it was in Delhi (farmers agitation), or the morcha at Behbal Kalan, or at Mohali (for release of Bandi Singhs), the Guru Granth Sahib is present,” he said.

Paramjit Singh Judge told ThePrint that while it is correct that the Guru Granth Sahib was taken by the British soldiers to the places where the battle was fought during the World Wars, there is no precedent before that.

“The Britishers did it to keep the Sikh Regiment motivated. It was unheard of before that,” said Judge, an authority on Punjab’s history.

Professor Dharam Singh told ThePrint that carrying the Guru Granth Sahib to a police station was patently wrong.

“A police station is the last place where the Guru Granth Sahib should have been carried to. There could be policemen smoking cigarettes, or recovered drugs and alcohol lying there. Secondly, wherever the Guru Granth Sahib has been present at morchas, it has been ensured by the organisers that it is kept with utmost sacredness,” the author of the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism said.

“Wherever they are, Sikh soldiers do have the Guru Granth Sahib present as a matter of faith and draw strength. But that does not mean that the Guru Granth Sahib is taken by them physically to the battlefield,” he asserted.

(Edited by Tony Rai)

Also Read: Radical activist Amritpal Sandhu & 5 associates booked for abduction, rioting. No arrests yet


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