News Brief

Punjab: Akal Takht Jathedar Holds Bhagwant Mann Guilty Of "Religious Misconduct" In Firing Between Two Nihang Sikh Groups Outside Gurdwara

Nishtha Anushree

Jan 21, 2024, 02:11 PM | Updated 02:11 PM IST

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

In a violent confrontation at Gurdwara Akal Bunga in Sultanpur Lodhi of Kapurthala in November 2023, Sri Akal Takht Sahib Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh has held Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann guilty of religious misconduct.

Notably, the firefight between two factions of Nihangs over the control of the gurdwara resulted in the death of one police officer and injured several others. However, the Jathedar blamed police for "a large-scale attack on the gurdwara without any provocation."

The Shri Akal Takht Sahib Secretariat released the statement on Sunday (21 January) after a report of a sub-committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) over the alleged breach of decorum by the police.

The Indian Express quoted the Jathedar as saying, "Firing…breaking the dignity by entering the Gurdwara Sahib with the police wearing shoes and disrupting the Sri Akhand Path Sahib going on inside the Gurdwara Sahib by releasing tear gas shells was an act that deeply hurt Sikh sentiments by disrupting decency and sanctity."

Given that CM Mann is the head of the Ministry of Home Affairs in the state, Jathedar held him responsible for the act of the police. "The CM has been found directly guilty of religious misconduct for breach of decorum and indiscriminate firing," the Jathedar added.

The police were reportedly present at the site to resolve the dispute and remove one group of Nihangs from the premises. When law enforcement initiated a significant operation to displace the Nihangs, they started shooting.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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