Monday, April 22, 2024

Did Punjab CM go to holy Sikh shrine in a drunken state? SGPC claims he did

The SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee) is furious that Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Singh Mann entered the Takht Damdama Sahib allegedly in a drunk state on Baisakhi yesterday. 

The organisation, which manages Sikh shrines in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, has sought an apology from the AAP leader and Punjab chief minister. 

In a statement issued in Amritsar, SGPC senior vice president Raghujit Singh Virk stated that the chief minister visited a highly revered spiritual site of the Sikh community while under the influence of alcohol and “violated the Sikh rehat maryada (code of conduct).”

He demanded that Mann admit his mistake and apologise to the entire Sikh community.

“The conduct of CM showed that he did not extend the due respect and honour to the Guru Ghar. In this way he lowered the prestige of the constitutional office of CM, too,” the release added.

Along with the Committee, Shiromani Akali Dal chief and Punjab former Dy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal also accused Bhagwant Mann of sacrilege as he entered the revered shrine in an inebriated state. Congress has also chastised Bhagwant Mann for the same.

Sukhbir Singh Badal told the media in Bathinda on the occasion of Baisakhi at Talwandi Sabo on Thursday, “It is intolerable that a CM comes to a Takht inebriated. I didn’t want to criticise this government for the first six months but I couldn’t take it silently when I came to know about his coming to the Sikhs’ revered place in a drunken state. He has done it twice now. He even went to the Bargari morcha in an inebriated state and people had to turn him out. Now that he is a chief minister, he expected him to know his maryada.”

Badal also Tweeted on April 14, “I didn’t want to speak for some time & wanted to give a free rein to the new govt, but @BhagwantMann’s actions were however intolerable today. This was not the first time, he has earlier also visited Takht Sri Damdama Sahib in an inebriated condition besides Bargari dharna site.”

Another Akali Dal leader, Virsa Singh Valtoha, has pleaded with the highest Sikh temporal authority, the Akal Takht, to take action against Bhagwant Mann.

Valtoha demanded a medical examination of the CM. He said, “If the test proves me wrong, then the SAD will tender a public apology and face any punishment. But if the allegations turn out to be true, then a case under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) should be registered against the chief minister.”

The ruling AAP in Punjab has, meanwhile, refuted the allegations. It hit back at the Shiromani Akali Dal saying that they were indulging in mud-slinging since they were rejected by the people of Punjab in the Assembly elections.

Bhagwant Mann is known in the political circle as “Pegwant Mann” for his alleged addiction to drinking alcohol. The Lok Sabha MP from Sangrur has come under the scanner several times in the past for his indecent behaviour.

In 2015, former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav had alleged that Mann attended Parliament sessions drunk.

“I discovered it first in July 2014 when AAP had a meeting of all its Lok Sabha candidates. Mann was sitting next to me and was smelling of alcohol. I mentioned it to Arvind Kejriwal, and he nodded. Around this time, I heard rumours that Mann was going to the Lok Sabha sessions drunk,” said Yadav.

In October 2015, at the bhog ceremony of the Faridkot firing victims, Mann was asked to leave the stage after Jagtar Singh, former granthi of Dabar Sahib, Amritsar, had found him drunk. 

The incident caused AAP national embarrassment. 

Videos had emerged then whereon Mann was seen being heckled and chased out of a gurdwara by the villagers in Faridkot’s Bargari village because he was drunk.

A video released on Facebook then showed Mann being chased away by local residents. “Daaru peeke aaya hai daaru (He is drunk),” some people are heard shouting in the video. The AAP leader had then too refuted the allegation.

Again in 2018, Bhagwant Mann in an election rally Mann could not even stand when his turn came to speak. He was seen blowing flying kisses to the people before collapsing on the dais. He managed to get up somehow and, after blowing some more flying kisses, he started speaking.

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