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Explained: Sacrilege & Blasphemy Of Guru Granth Sahib In Punjab

Explained: Sacrilege & Blasphemy Of Guru Granth Sahib In Punjab

Explained: Sacrilege & Blasphemy Of Guru Granth Sahib In Punjab

The issue of sacrilege/blasphemy of the holy Guru Granth Sahib has been a burning issue for Punjab and the Sikh community for the past eight years. In 2015, the incident of blasphemy in Bargari village of Faridkot left a deep impact on the politics of Punjab. The sad, alarming and heart-wrenching incidents of continuous desecration of the holy pages of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji had broken the hearts of the Sikhs. Meanwhile, the political parties played with the sentiments of the sect. Of course, despite many political upheavals, the people of Punjab did not allow the conspiracies to hurt communal harmony and create religious conflict.

After the Bargari incident of October 2015, Sikhs in America, Canada and European countries protested against the blasphemy. Some signs of Khalistan movement were also displayed by the protesters. On 22 October 2015, large groups of Sikh protesters gathered at the Indian High Commission in Central London to protest against the events in Punjab. A small group of protesters turned violent and a policeman was injured. About 20 protesters were arrested and charged with contempt. In the US, several Sikh organizations and protesters, including the American Sikh Council (ASC), the North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) and the Indian National Overseas Congress (INOC), denounced the blasphemy. They appealed to the central and state governments to punish the culprits.

The desecration incident in Bargari can be seen as a consequence to the pardon given by the five Singh Sahibs of Sri Akal Takht Sahib to Dera Sirsa chief Ram Rahim on 24 September 2015. Ram Rahim, who in 2007 disguised himself as Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, impersonating him by wearing a costume. As a result of the protest and anger among the Sikh Sangat, Sri Akal Takht Sahib ordered a social, religious and political boycott of the people associated with the Dera, including the Dera Chief. In this regard, a case was also filed in the court against Ram Rahim for inciting Sikh sentiments, which was later withdrawn. Meanwhile, Akali Dal Badal supremo Parkash Singh Badal and president Sukhbir Singh Badal used their political influence to get the votes of the Dera followers in view of the 2017 assembly elections and sought an apology from the Akal Takht Sahib for him. The Jathedars are employees of the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC), which is known to have been under undue influence of the Badals. The Jathedars say that they were asked by the Badals to ask Ram Rahim to come to Chandigarh and pardon him. However, the Jathedars asked the appeal to be put up at the Akal Takht Sahib. When the appeal letter reached the Akal Takht Sahib, the Singh Sahibs accepted Ram Rahim's letter on 24 September 2015

This naturally resulted in an outrage in the Sikh community over this issue. It was unacceptable to the Sikh community that Ram Rahim was pardoned. When the Panj Pyare of Akal Takht Sahib summoned the Jathedars after this incident, the SGPC dismissed the Panj Pyare from their jobs. In order to justify the pardon by the committee, various advertisements in newspapers were published on October 16, the same day when the Panj Singh Sahibs rejected the pardon issued to Ram Rahim due to the protest of the Sikh community.

On October 12, 2015, the holy pages of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was scattered in the village of Bargari in Faridkot during the ongoing protests of pardoning Ram Rahim. A resulting peaceful protest in Bargari was fired upon and two Sikh youths were killed. Anger among the Sikhs against the Jathedars and the government spread widely. Jathedar Giani Mal Singh of Takht Kesgarh was attacked by an idividual. The Sangat started demanding the immediate removal of the then Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh and DGP Sumedh Saini for the shooting incident.

Amidst all this, Ram Rahim claimed did not write any letter to Akal Takht Sahib regarding an apology. Of course till today, Jathedar Akal Takht Sahib has not officially told anyone who brought that apology letter.

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