Sikh priest joins AAP, says Badals helped sacrilege cases culprits


Chandigarh, Jan 27 : A Sikh priest, who refused to honour Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during his visit to Harmandar Sahib in Amritsar in June 2016, joined the AAP on Friday and accused the Badals of financially helping those behind incidents of sacrilege in the state.

Priest Balbir Singh had defended his refusal to give a ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) to Badal on June 3 last year by saying that he had done so to protest the repeated sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in Punjab in 2016 and the Badal government’s failure to catch the culprits.

He was immediately transferred out of Amritsar by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, which controls the Sikh shrines in the state.

“I also came to know that the Badal family is giving financial help to those involved in the heinous act. Sacrilege incidents on this scale were not possible without the active involvement of the ruling (Shiromani Akali Dal) party. My protest was against the state government’s failure to arrest the guilty,” Balbir Singh said on Friday after he was inducted into the Aam Aadmi Party by senior party leader Sanjay Singh and others.

He said the AAP leadership has assured him those guilty in the sacrilege cases would be punished.

Before formally joining the AAP, Balbir Singh announced his support to AAP candidate Jarnail Singh, who is pitted against the Chief Minister in Lambi assembly constituency.

The elections to the 117-member Punjab assembly will be held on February 4 and counting of ballots taken up on March 11.

On October 20 last year, the Punjab Police said they had arrested two brothers for their involvement in the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari village in Faridkot district.

A senior police officer then said that other incidents of sacrilege reported from Kohrian (Sangrur district), Nijjarpura (Amritsar), Ghawaddi (Ludhiana) and Bathh (Tarn Taran) were of localised nature.

The police had claimed that five of the seven reported cases of sacrilege had been solved.