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Sikh-Americans condemn desecration of Sikh holy book in Punjab

Washington: Several Sikh-American groups have condemned the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, in Punjab and alleged that it was a “planned strategy” to destabilise and create “enough” fissures in the social fabric of the state.

In a statement, American Sikh Council (ASC) called on the Union and the Punjab governments, to bring the guilty to justice, “failing which the festering wounds will only infect others around them and will not bode well for the country.”

“These are not acts of a deranged individual but a planned strategy to not only destabilise Punjab but also create enough fissures in the social fabric of the state so that when the rural Sikhs of Punjab rise in unarmed protest, the Indian government can clamp down on all peaceful dissent with the use of force with the help of the Army eventually,” the ASC said.

North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) condemned the killing of unarmed peaceful Sikh protesters.

“This is very unfortunate that many have been beaten and abused and hundreds of Sikhs have been arrested for simply demanding action against those who desecrated Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji,” said its executive director Satnam Singh Chahal.

Expressing solidarity with the Sikh community, Indian National Overseas Congress (INOC)- USA condemned the perpetrators of the heinous acts.

“The Police assault, apparently without a court order, at the innocent and peaceful protesters sitting on the ground in the village of Behbal Kalan amounted to a provocative and an uncalled for act which also deserves condemnation,” said INOC’s secretary-general Harbachan Singh.

For the past one week, Punjab has been on the boil over the desecration of the holy book at Bargari village in Faridkot district.

Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, and Inderpaul Singh Gadh, chairman of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, blamed Punjab government of Parkash Singh Badal of mishandling a sensitive religious issue.

They appealed to Sikhs to keep their protests peaceful.

“It shows the failure of Punjab administration in not acting promptly… For two to three days, there was total absence by any responsible representative to make any move or a statement to assuage the feelings or the sentiments of the peaceful protesters,” he said.

Gadh said the government cannot blame the protesters for the violence in the state.

“There was no apparent violence and it is being reported wrongly in the media. It is only police which used ruthless force which led to people burning vehicles in outrage. People were under restraint. This was not a protest by people with questionable motives,” he said.

“Government of Punjab must reign in this kind of irresponsible action by the security forces and no loss of life should take place in any police action,” he said.