SHIMLA: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Chief Harjinder Singh Dhami has raised objections to a statement by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on not allowing flags carrying the photo or portrait of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in the state.
In a communication addressed to the Himachal CM, Dhami said: “As a Chief Minister of a state, it is your duty to maintain peace and ensure the protection of religious sentiments of all communities.”
The SGPC chief asserted that in a democratic set-up, every individual had the right to display, carry or endorse the photos of their respective leaders or idols. “No such statement should be made from constitutional posts… It’s unfortunate that instead of restraining the police on the issue, he made a statement against the Sikh sentiments. The statement must be immediately withdrawn to avoid any further controversy,” he said.
A controversy had erupted after devotees on their way to Manikaran Sahib in Kullu district were reportedly challaned for affixing flags with Bhindranwale’s photos on their vehicles. The devotees subsequently resorted to a road blockade near Massewal in Anandpur Sahib in Punjab’s Ropar district while alleging that they were being unnecessarily challaned and harassed by the Himachal Pradesh Police personnel.
Jai Ram Thakur had supported the police move to intercept the vehicles of Sikh youths carrying the flags and photos of Bhindranwale. The youths were allowed to move only after the flags were removed, it is learnt.
The devotees, on the other hand, had alleged that Nishan Sahib flags affixed on their bikes and cars were being taken down by the Himachal Pradesh police. One of the devotees alleged that the police had been calling them pro-Khalistan and even labelling them as terrorists.
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