As per information available with Sikh Siyasat News (SSN): the Dal Khalsa has slammed the SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal from running away in facing the Sikh Diaspora and urged him to resign from party presidency’.
In an open letter to Sukhbir Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal & Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, the Dal Khalsa head Harchranjit Singh Dhami said it would be in the interest of the Akali Dal and the Sikh Panth if “you could resign from the presidentship of the Shiromani Akali Dal and allow party persons to choose their new head, who can have moral courage to interact with the Sikh Diaspora and live up to their expectations”.
Full text of letter reads as follows:
SAD president should either face the Sikh Diaspora or quit the post
An open letter to Sukhbir Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal & Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab
By Harchranjit Singh Dhami
I write to share my views since you have shelved your Canada tour scheduled for September after the ministry of external affairs (MEA) conveyed to the Punjab government that it entailed significant risk to you, especially from Sikh radicals.
Notwithstanding what the officials of the Indian foreign ministry has conveyed to the state government, my view is that being head of the Shiromani Akali Dal- the party that in its Constitution claims to represent the Sikhs should not shy away from facing the Sikh Diaspora despite their grievances with you and your coterie. I strongly contest the claims made by officials of the foreign ministry that the Canadian government has refused to provide adequate security cover to you. I feel that the Canadian government is well versed to provide security to their VIP guests and being Deputy Chief Minister, you would have been given the required security under the protocol. Believe it or not, on the issue of facilitating your tour to Canada, the Central government has played the role of spoilsport.
Your cancelling the tour had sent a clear message that you are weak and inefficient leader, who lacks political will to face the Sikh Diaspora. Being President of the party whose constitution claims that it articulates the voice of the Sikhs, you would have faced the Diaspora with open and large heart. I know a strong section of Canadian Sikhs are angry and upset with you and your government for failing to bring the human rights violators and guilty police officers to book. They are also annoyed because your government has given plum posts to officers infamous for rights abuses. Your party has not fulfilled its elections promises of 1997 for setting up of truth commission to look into the rights abuses during militancy era. I am also aware that Canadian Sikhs are also disturbed over the approach of your government towards various contentious Sikh issues especially that pose challenge to Sikh identity and aspirations. But even then I wish you should not have run away from facing them.
Even if one believes the report sent by foreign ministry that there would have been strong protest against your presence, I think and you will agree with me that holding a protest is a democratic right of every individual and I am convinced that Canadian police would have kept the protestors at bay at all cost. Your father being chief minister of the state faces protest by cross section of the society every then and now. At abroad, after June and Nov 1984 painful events, every Indian Prime Minister during his or her visit continue to face spirited protests by Sikh Diaspora till date. Will the foreign ministry with the same logic recommend PM Dr Manmohan Singh to cancel his visit to the USA in the coming September?
There were reports that ‘Sikhs for Justice’ has contemplated to file a suit against you under some Canadian law for human rights violations back in Punjab. Sikhs at large believe that fearing litigation you have cancelled your visit, instead of owing moral responsibility to clear your position vis-à-vis rights abuses.
Your hiding behind the so-called lack of security cover is unconvincing. Since you had made up your mind to cancel the tour taking shelter behind the foreign ministry recommendations, I humbly request you to resign from the presidentship of the Shiromani Akali Dal as I think no Akali can expect that their president to be so weak and incompetent. It would be better for you to step down and allow Akalis to choose their new party president, who can have moral courage to interact with the Sikh Diaspora and live up to their expectations. The Akali Dal claims to represent the Panth and as such, your responsibility towards the community is enormous, not just forming the government. It’s time for you to introspect as why Sikh Diaspora has lost all hopes from the present day Akali leadership.
By PARMJIT SINGH