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Akal Takht Honors Indira Gandhi's Assassins

The Sikh Times mourns the continuing poverty of leadership from the Akal Takht. The apex Sikh institution recently (July 10, 2003) ex-communicated Gurbakhsh Singh Kala Afghana for doing no more than exercise his freedom of verbal and written expression. The same authority has now brazenly honored the misguided Satwant Singh for having opted for mindless violence as a form of expression. This is another blot on India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.), which has, no doubt, decided to look the other way simply because honoring the former Congress leader's killers fits splendidly with its unprincipled and partisan agenda. Contradictorily, on October 28, 2004, the World Sikh Council America Region, which terms itself "A representative body of Sikh institutions of America under the patronage of Siri Akal Takhat Sahib," referred to Indira's assassins as "alleged."

The Tribune, Amritsar, Jan. 7, 2004

Akal Takht's jathedar [head priest], Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, today honored Bibi Pyar Kaur, mother of Satwant Singh, who killed Indira Gandhi [in 1984], at a shaheedi samagam [martyrdom remembrance] here today. The function was organised at [the] Akal Takht to pay tribute to Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, involved in the killing of [India's former prime minister] Indira Gandhi. Mr. Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary, S.G.P.C., said it was the duty of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee [S.G.P.C.] to give due honour to 'Sikh martyrs' and their family members.

Mr. Simranjit Singh Mann, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) [S.A.D.-A], said he was grateful to [the] Akal Takht jathedar for organising the function to honor the family members of 'Sikh martyrs.' He, however, said [the] Akal Takht should also organise functions to pay tribute to Beant Singh, another killer of Indira Gandhi, and Dilawar Singh, a killer of former [Punjab] chief minister Beant Singh. Among those present at the occasion were Mr. Rajinder Singh Mehta, Bhai Ram Singh, Mr. Harbir Singh Sandhu, Mr. Daljit Singh Bedi, and Mr. Joginder Singh Adliwal. Bhai Dharm Singh performed ardaas [prayer] on the occasion.