Special Correspondent

MUKTSAR: Asserting that the Punjab Government would not tolerate any attempt to disturb the peace or create communal tension, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has called upon the people, especially the Sikh community, to hand out a decisive defeat to divisive forces during the forthcoming general elections of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Mr. Badal was addressing an Akali congregation at the historic Maghi festival organised here to commemorate the 305th anniversary of the martyrdom of 40 “mukta” fighters associated with Guru Gobind Singh. He cautioned the “sangat” against any faulty decision as the Congress had begun implementing yet another “conspiracy” to gain control over religious institutions of the Sikhs.

Mr. Badal drew the attention of the Sikh community towards the public stance of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who had announced support to Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Paramjit Singh Sarna in fighting SGPC elections. He reminded that the Congress Government had attempted to divide the Sikhs over the issue of a separate body to manage the religious bodies in Haryana. Akali Dal president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal demanded establishment of special fast track courts to ensure justice to the victims of the November 1984 anti-Sikh carnage.

Meanwhile, the Congress show was a damp squib. Capt. Amarinder Singh and most of the MLAs barring four did not turn up. The party’s Punjab unit president Mohinder Singh Kaypee and Leader of Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal made brief speeches demanding dismissal of the Badal Government for its “failure on all fronts”.

At another congregation, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) led by radical leader Simranjit Singh Mann accused Mr. Badal, his family and “group of sycophants” of sabotaging the basic Sikh principles and denigrating the community’s supreme institutions.