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Updated: January 2, 2012 00:39 IST

Manmohan begins New Year with prayers at Golden Temple

Sarabjit Pandher
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Prime minister Manmohan Singh arrives to pay obeisance at Golden Temple in Amritsar on Sunday.
PTI Prime minister Manmohan Singh arrives to pay obeisance at Golden Temple in Amritsar on Sunday.

Team Anna members show him black flags for moving "weak" Lokpal Bill

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday faced an angry protest from social activist Anna Hazare's supporters, who waved black flags and raised slogans as he came out of Harmandar Sahib (the Golden Temple) in Amritsar.

The incident, which surprised the security agencies, occurred when Dr Singh, on a “private visit” to the temple with his wife Gursharan Kaur, came out after spending about 75 minutes there. He reached Harmandar Sahib at 6:20 a.m., performed circumambulation of the Sarovar, before entering the sanctum sanctorum, where he offered prayers and listened to the recitation of the Holy Gurbani. He later offered prayers at Akal Takhat. The priests bestowed the customary ‘siropa' (robes of religious honour) on Dr. Singh. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) also honoured him.

As he crossed the clock tower entry of the shrine, protesters, carrying pictures of Mr. Hazare, started raising slogans against Dr. Singh and demanding a better Lokpal Bill. Before being pushed back by the police, the protesters waved black flags. No protester could reach anywhere near the Prime Minister, who was surrounded by guards of the Special Protection Group.

The protesters, led by Harinder Singh, a local businessman, and Manmeet Kaur, a teacher, claimed to be active members of India Against Corruption. They expressed anger at the manner in which the United Progressive Alliance government handled the issue, moving a “weak” Lokpal Bill in Parliament. This was the second incident in recent times, wherein a dignitary was shown black flags at Harmandar Sahib. Some fringe organisations and hardliners showed black flags at BJP leader L.K. Advani, when he visited the shrine during his rath yatra against corruption.

While no arrest was made, the civil as well as police officials remained tight-lipped. SGPC secretary Dalmegh told journalists that the incident was unfortunate and should have been avoided as Harmandar Sahib was open to all for prayers and not meant for staging protest.

As the ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine distanced itself from the issue, Pradesh Congress Committee president Amarinder Singh accused the Akali Dal of having engineered the protest, pointing out that Team Anna had dissociated itself from it. Struggling for political survival, the Akalis had resorted to such gimmicks at the holiest place, he said.

“People hurt and upset”

Capt. Singh said the Punjabis felt hurt and upset as the incident brought bad name to the State. “Only the Akalis who have already lost the battle could be expected to stoop so low as to use a holy place and sacred occasion for scoring petty political points even if it meant violating the sacred maryada in the process.”

Before flying back to New Delhi, Dr. Singh offered prayers at the Durgiana Mandir and met the families of his two brothers and three sisters, who have been living in Amritsar ever since they migrated from Pakistan in 1947.

The Prime Minister, who last visited Harmandar Sahib in 2009, was received by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at the Raja Sansi Airport on Saturday evening. He spent the night at the government circuit house.

What I have to say about Man Mohan Singh is the following:- A public
functionary who is absolutely honest in his personal conduct, but shows
no inclination to fight corruption in areas where he can exercise
considerable influence has most probably chosen the path of personal
integrity not out of an unflinching love of the quality, but possibly as
a tool of self-preservation and self-promotion.

from:  Tharayashankar
Posted on: Jan 2, 2012 at 12:13 IST

Dr.Singh is in politics, I am sure he himself wouldn't have taken the protests seriously, because its a price you pay for being in public life.But the reaction of the so called 'Team Anna' was the most shocking.One gets a feeling that it has taken a anti-congress stand of late, and moving away from the actual cause for what it was formed by Anna, by making a open statement supporting the black flag protests.As an Indian I felt, every single political party played its role to perfection in seeing that the Lokpal bill was delayed somehow.Its better adviced that the Team Anna keep itself away from such cheap political comments,for the simple reason that it will create a rift among the people on the basis of Politics, which is not at all good for the cause for which it was started.

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Jan 2, 2012 at 08:19 IST
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