Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was the only party in the country which was a staunch votary of ‘unite and rule’ by dispelling the image of political outfits so far, which believed in the policy of ‘divide and rule’ to pursue their political ambitions.Addressing a religious congregation here at the city of bliss on the commemoration of 350 years of its foundation, the Chief Minister said that the party has derived inspiration from the philosophy and ideology of great Sikh gurus, which preached the message of oneness of God and unity of mankind, thus the SAD has proved to be a unifying force to take all the communities irrespective of caste, colour and creed along to pursue the ultimate agenda of overall development of the state and prosperity of the people. He said that the SAD was bound by this principle and thus the state government celebrated all the major events related to the Gurus, Saints and spiritual ambassadors of every religion with full respect and enthusiasm.
The Chief Minister reiterated that now our party wished to take this philosophy of oneness of mankind at pan India level by organizing functions at national level to propagate the legacy and ideology of these great Bhagats (Saints) whose Bani has been included in Sri Guru Grant sahib. He announced these functions would be organized in various parts of the country from which these saints originally hailed from adding he said that a mega event would be held in Pune in the memory of Bhagat Namdev Ji, another at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh in the memory of Guru Ravidass and Bhagat Kabir, Jaidev in Kolkatta, Bhagat Peepa and Bhagat Dhanna in Jaipur (Rajasthan).The Chief Minister lamented that Sikhs who were known for their unmatched patriotism, religious tolerance and compassion have been unfortunately branded as communal, on the contrary the community was a staunch follower of the teachings of great Sikh Gurus, who propagated the concept of religious freedom, secularism and socialism. He said that the people who sought inspiration from the ideology preached by great Sikh Gurus- Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji and Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji who sacrificed everything even their life and family for the sake of mankind how could they be dubbed as terrorists and secessionists.
The Chief Minister said that the unique initiative to commemorate the 350 years of Sri Anandpur Sahib on the part of state government and SGPC would go a long way in sensitizing the people especially the youth not in the country but across the country about the rich and glorious past of Khalsa Panth. He said that the state government was committed to showcase the rich legacy of the state to the people by constructing memorials and monuments to apprise the people with their majestic heritage. Mr. Badal said that the state government was now constructing war heroes memorial at Amritsar and Jang-e-Azaadi memorial at Kartarpur near Jalandhar to highlight the enormous contribution of Punjabis in safeguarding the borders from external invasion and internal insurgency and during the national freedom struggle.
Earlier the Chief Minister felicitated the national BJP President Mr. Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, Governor Chattisgarh Mr. Balram Ji Dass Tandon, Chief Minister Haryana Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar and Union Minister if state Mr. Vijay Sampla with a momento, a shawl and a sword.In his address Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and SAD president Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the establishment of Sri Anandpur Sahib marked the spread of the message of peace and universal brotherhood besides the need to oppose tyranny and injustice. The SAD President said Punjabis had always acted in the path shown by the great Gurus and that they had remained forerunners in all struggles whether against the Mughals, British regime or the fight for Sikh causes. Describing Shiromani Akali Dal as the second oldest political party in country, Mr. Badal said it had always fought for the interests and rights of farmers, labourers and deprived sections of the society. He said Punjabis had more than 80 percent contribution in independence struggle besides being awarded the maximum sentences, including imprisonment at the Cellular jail in Andamans. He also lauded Punjabi fraternity for contributing more than 60 percent food grains in the national food kitty despite constituting only two percent of entire population of the country. Mr. Badal lamented that despite excellent performance and immense contribution in various fields besides protecting the international borders, Punjab did not get its due recognition from previous regimes.
Seeking expeditious trials, justice and relief to the victims of world’s biggest planned Sikh carnage of 1984 riots, Mr. Badal said since last 30 years Sikhs had been waiting for justice as their wounds were still simmering. He appealed to the NDA Government to ensure justice for Sikhs as well as Punjab. He also sought that the legitimate issues pertaining to Punjab should be resolved at the earliest with the due consultation of all stake holders.Badal also appreciated the initiatives taken by Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal to preserve the rich Sikh legacy and heritage by constructing world class monuments and memorials in the name of Great Sikh Gurus and warriors. He said that this tradition would be helpful for coming generations to know about the great historic background of Punjab and Punjabis.
In his address Union Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh declared that Sikhs has played a stellar role in country’s economic development besides in Defence sector by safeguarding our borders and thus they hardly need any certificate for their unflinching spirit of nationalism and secularism. He reiterated that Sikhs were secular and patriots to the core of their hearts and always played a leading role in protecting unity, integrity and dignity of the country besides promoting the ethos of communal harmony and brotherhood. Mr. Rajnath Singh said that he had no doubts that Sikhs could never be communal as they firmly believed in tenets of Sikhism, which propagated the values of love, compassion and goodwill. He lauded the role of Sikhs in preserving the rich cultural legacy of India and described them as the true saviors of Indian heritage and civilization.
National BJP President Mr. Amit Shah in his speech said that the holy city of Sri Anandpur Sahib was a source of energy, enlightenment and peace. He said that the unprecedented sacrifice of ninth Sikh guru, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, who founded this city 350 years ago would ever keep the spirit of patriotism and nationalism aflame. Mr. Shah said that the ninth Guru laid down his life to uphold the values of righteousness, brotherhood and peace to enable the entire mankind to profess the religion of their faith.Haryana Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar impressed upon his counterpart Mr. Badal to prevail upon the Government of India (GoI) to get the issues of mutual interests resolved and pledged all support and cooperation to the Chief Minister saying though Haryana was carved out of Punjab after reorganization but it would ever remain a younger brotherhood to Punjab. He said that the unparalleled sacrifices made by great Sikh gurus would ever guide the destiny of people by proving to be a beacon for them.
In his address Governor Chattisgarh Mr. Balram Ji Dass Tandon said that the holy city of Sri Anandpur Sahib have witnessed two major events one in 1999 on the tri-centenary celebrations of Khalsa Panth and another now on the completion of 350 years of its foundation. He said that these events go a long way in proving to be a repository of knowledge and awareness to keep all of us abreast about our rich cultural heritage.
Earlier, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National BJP Chief accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Union Food Processing Minister Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister of state Mr. Vijay Sampla, state BJP Chief Mr. Kamal Sharma and Industry Minister Mr. Madan Mohan Mittal, Local Bodies Minister Mr. Anil Joshi and Chief Parliamentary Secretary Mr. KD Bhandari paid obeisance at Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib.On the occasion all the dignitaries were presented a siropa by the Head Granthi of Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib Bhai Sahib Bhai Sukhwinder Singh.
Prominent amongst other present on the occasion included Union Food Processing Minister Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Rajya Sabha MPs Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Mr. Avinash Rai Khanna and Mr. Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Lok Sabha MPs Jathedar Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and Prof. Prem Singh Chandumajra, Speaker Punjab Vidhan Sabha Dr. Charanjit Singh Atwal, Cabinet Ministers Mr. Gulzar Singh Ranike, Jathedar Tota Singh, Jathedar Ajit Singh Kohar, Mr. Janmeja Singh Sekhon and Mr. Surjit Singh Rakhra, MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur, former MP Mr. Tarlochan Singh, former Ministers Jathedar Sucha Singh Langah and Mr. Nirmal Singh Kahlon, President SGPC Jathedar Avtar Singh and former President SGPC Jathedar Kirpal Singh Badungar.On the occasion prominent religious leaders including Jathedar Akal Takht Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh, Jathedar Sri Keshgarh Sahib Giani Mal Singh, Shankara Charya, Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev, Hazrat Kaleem-ud-din Siddiqui, Baba Lakha Singh, Bishop Dr Franko Muakkal and Bodh Muni Acharya Gian Muni were also present.