Punjab: Voices against CAA rise from BJP ally Akalis and Panthak groups
Senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder, and Jathedar of Shri Akal Takht Sahib, Giani Harpreet Singh have completely rejected the CAA in recent statements
A strong voice has been raised against the new Citizenship Amendment Act by the Panthak groups in Punjab. Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder, who is considered the senior-most leader after Shiromani Akali Dal's supremo Prakash Singh Badal and President Sukhbir Singh Badal and, the Jathedar of Shri Akal Takht Sahib, Giani Harpreet Singh have completely rejected the CAA in recent statements. They have once again opposed the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat too. The Badal father-son-duo are for the time being silent but this has caused a tremendous commotion within the Shiromani Akali Dal and Panthak camps.
The Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder is considered very close to Badal family. He has almost a 60-years long association with Prakash Singh Badal and is one of the main founders of the Shiromani Akali Dal. After Badals, he is considered the senior-most leader in the party and his voice is always paid attention to. He is also considered to be the spokesperson of Prakash Singh Badal. It is believed that when Badal doesn’t want to say anything openly, then Bhundar takes the charge and says it. In an exclusive interview to a TV channel on January 27, Balwinder Singh Bhunder said that minorities in India are not safe in the current regime. And the CAA is not a step in the right direction.
The Shiromani Akali Dal is ready to go to any extent to protect the interests of Punjab and minorities. And if needed, the party can leave the ministerial post at the centre, he added. It’s important to note here that Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the Badal family is a minister in the Union cabinet on behalf of the Shiromani Akali Dal.
Bhunder made it clear that the Jathedar of Shri Akal Takht Sahib had also said that the minorities in the country are unsafe and the statement of the Jathedar is representative of the community. Those who rule the country should think seriously about this. The Rajya Sabha MP said the Shiromani Akali Dal strongly opposes RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's statement about making India a 'Hindu nation'.
Giani Harpreet Singh, the Jathedar of Shri Akal Takht Sahib, the highest religious seat of Sikhs, has once again said that the Central Government should reconsider the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Before implementing it, all the minority sections of the country should have been taken into confidence but this was not done. He emphasised on the fact that it is not correct to deliberately discriminate against anyone. But now, the trend of openly discriminating against the Muslims has emerged. Giani Harpreet Singh also strongly condemned the police action and violence in Jamia Millia Islamia and JNU. He said that the Constitution gives everyone the right to dissent and resistance. Minorities are no longer safe in the country and the voices of resistance are being suppressed by force. This is not right. To talk about making India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ is utterly wrong.
After these recent statements by Shri Akal Takht Sahib's Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh and veteran Akali leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder, there is a flutter within the Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP in Punjab. Till now, no response has come on these statements. Sukhbir Singh Badal was in Amritsar on January 27. He maintained silence on many issues and questions but said that the Akali-BJP alliance will not break as of now.