Akalis trying to divide Sikhs: Amarinder



 Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday said it was unfortunate the Akalis under Sukhbir Badal and his wife and Union minister Harsimrat Badal were trying to divide the Sikhs while celebrating the biggest unifier the world had seen in first Sikh master Guru Nanak Dev.

Lashing out at the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for making a virtual mockery of the historic 550th Prakash Purb celebrations by playing into the hands of the Badals, the Chief Minister said such major events had always, traditionally, been celebrated under the aegis of the state government.

But the SGPC, at the behest of the Akalis, has refused to support his government's programmes this time, he told the media here.

He recalled even the 400 years of Guru Granth Sahib were celebrated by the state under his last tenure, as were all other such historic religious events.

His government, said Amarinder, had reached out in all possible ways to the SGPC to facilitate joint celebrations, but the religious body was clearly working on the Akali agenda in the matter.

Reacting to SGPC charges of inadequate efforts by the state to ensure befitting celebration of the occasion, the Chief Minister said all preparations for the grand celebration were in place and Punjab was fully geared up to make this joyous occasion a lifetime experience for the pilgrims.

The Chief Minister, in response to a question, reiterated the need for caution against Pakistan's nefarious designs, as evident in the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor and other recent initiatives of their government to mark the birth anniversary celebrations.

The Sikh community had been asking for opening of the passage to the sacred Kartarpur shrine for the past 70 years but Pakistan's sudden decision to accept the demand indicated an ulterior motive, aimed at driving a wedge between the Sikh community by exploiting their religious sentiments, he added.

While he did not expect Pakistan to dare to do any mischief through the corridor, it was important, as a border state, for Punjab to remain on alert, said the Chief Minister.

The state was keeping close tabs on the situation and was maintaining heightened alert, he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a public gathering at Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district of Punjab after inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9.

The Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara, originally known as Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, is a highly revered Sikh shrine where Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years of his life and is his final resting place.IANS