Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh: All Sikhs must have licensed weapon, CM objects

Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh: All Sikhs must have licensed weapon, CM objects

India News

Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh on Monday said every Sikh should possess a “licensed modern weapon” because “such circumstances are developing”, sparking a sharp reaction from Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann who said the temporal head of the Sikh community should instead give a message of peace and brotherhood. Terming the Jathedar’s remarks as “mischievous”, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring demanded he be removed from the post.

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“The teachings of Guru Hargobind Sahib are still relevant. There is a need, especially for Sikh boys and girls, to follow the orders of Guru Hargobind Sahib. They should take training in ‘gatka’ (a traditional martial art), sword fighting and shooting. And every Sikh should also try to possess a licensed modern weapon because such are the times and such circumstances have been developing,” the Jathedar said in a video message.

The Jathedar, who made the remarks on Guru Gaddi Diwas of Guru Hargobind Sahib — the sixth Guru who brought a transformation in Sikhism by asking Sikhs to get armed and training them in martial arts — did not clarify what he meant by “such circumstances”.

Guru Hargobind Sahib was the first Sikh Guru to wage a war against the Mughals. His father and fifth Guru Arjan Dev was executed at Lahore by then Mughal rulers. In his message, Jatehdar said that Guru Hargobind Sahib had created the Akal Takht. “While he preached us to read Bani, he also told us to become armed, learn horse riding and fencing,” said the Jathedar, asking all Sikhs to recite Gurbani and stay away from drugs.

The Jathedar’s remarks drew a sharp reaction from Chief Minister Mann who asked him not to send out such a message.

“You should send across Gurbani’s message of ‘sarbat da bhala’ (welfare of all) to every house instead of that of possessing weapons…we should give messages of peace, brotherhood and modern development rather than of modern weapons,” the CM tweeted.

Later, in Chandigarh, Mann said weapons don’t have any place in a congenial society. “We are living in a civilised society where the country is governed by the rule of law. Weapons don’t have any place in a congenial and harmonious society,” he said.

It is the need of the hour to ensure Punjab’s hard-earned peace is maintained, Mann said. Already inimical forces are trying to disturb peace in the state, he said, adding that weapons in every household could further pose a serious challenge to the state’s peaceful atmosphere.

Punjab Congress chief Warring demanded Harpreet Singh’s removal as the Akal Takht Jathedar over his remarks.

“Statement by Jathedar Sahib about arming youth with modern licensed weapons without explaining facts is mischievous and dangerously threatening communal harmony. I strongly demand his removal from exalted position for the sake of peace of Punjab, as he (is the) mouthpiece of vested powers,” he tweeted.

In a statement, the Congress leader said it is a matter of serious concern that the Jathedar, gave such a call on the ‘Gurta Gaddi Diwas’ of Guru Hargobind Sahib.

Warring said since Harpreet Singh holds an important position in the Sikh community, whatever he says is taken seriously and so he must also tell the reason behind his message. “Since Jathedar Sahib has called on the youth of one community, everyone would like to know if he feels (that there is) any particular threat to the community that its youth need licensed modern weapons,” he said.

He added that it is “a cause of grave concern” since this message has come from the temporal head of the Sikh community.

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