Other States

Row after Akal Takht chief priest asks Sikhs to keep modern weapons

Giani Harpreet Singh, chief priest of the Akal Takht — the highest Sikh temporal seat — on Monday asserted that every Sikh should make efforts to keep “modern weapons because circumstances are such”, stoking controversy and inviting sharp criticism from political parties.

In a video message on the Guruship Day of Guru Hargobind Sahib, the sixth Sikh Guru, Giani Harpreet Singh said “...Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib preached that every Sikh should become strong by reading Gurbani and at the same time should also be armed and learn the art of horse riding and using weapons. His preaching is still relevant today. It’s necessary even today, especially for the Sikh boys and girls to follow the orders of Guru Hargobind Singh and learn the art of using weapons be it — gatkabaji [a style of fighting with wooden sticks], talwarbazi [fencing], shooting. Besides, every Sikh should make an effort to keep a licensed ‘modern weapon’, legally...because the time and circumstances are such...”

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann said Giani Harpreet Singh should spread a message of peace, harmony and brotherhood in society rather than asking Sikhs to keep licensed modern weapons.

“We are living in a civilised society where the country is governed through the rule of law. Weapons don’t have any place in a congenial and harmonious society,” said Mr. Mann

The Chief Minister said it was the need of the hour to ensure that hard-earned peace of the State was maintained at every cost. “Already forces inimical to peace and harmony are trying to disturb peace, adding to that weapons in every household can further pose serious challenges to the State’s peaceful atmosphere,” he said.

‘List reasons’

Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring asked Giani Harpreet Singh to tell the reasons for the Sikhs to possess licensed modern weapons.

“It was a matter of serious concern that Giani Harpreet Singh, who presides over the highest temporal seat of the Sikh community had to give this call on the Gurta Gaddi Diwas of Guru Hargobind. Since Jathedar Sahib has called on the youth of one community, everyone would like to know, whether he feels any particular threat to the community that its youth need licensed modern weapons”, he said in a statement

The PCC president said since the Jathedar Sahab held an important and sensitive position in the Sikh community, whatever he said was always taken seriously by the Sikh community and that was why he must also tell what were the reasons behind such a call for modern weapons.

State BJP president Ashwani Sharma said the statement by Giani Harpreet Singh could send a wrong message to the people.


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Printable version | May 23, 2022 9:58:58 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/row-after-akal-takht-chief-priest-asks-sikhs-to-keep-modern-weapons/article65454427.ece