The government of Himachal Pradesh has decided that flags depicting face of Bhindranwale won't be allowed in the state. The issue came to light when locals from the towns of Jawalamukhi (ji) and Mandi complained about vehicles from Punjab entering into Himachal Pradesh with flags celebrating Bhindranwale.
Now there are reports suggesting that vehicles with Himachal's number plate are being stopped at the entry point of Punjab.
Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Jai Ram Thakur has attempted to calm down the simmering tension by clarifying. He said that, "we have high regard for the Nishan Sahib symbol and anyone is welcome to use it but flags with pictures of Bhindranwale will not be tolerated." He also added that the matter has been taken up with Punjab.
Meanwhile a video of some people from Ner Chowk has gone viral. These people in the video are claiming that this part of Himachal was a part of Punjab.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has jumped into the controversy. The SPGC has written a letter to the Himachal CM opposing the banning of Bhindranwale's flag.
The letter states that Sikhs across the world respect Bhindranwale and consider him their ideal and leader. The letter goes on further to state that Bhindranwale was declared 'Qaumi Yodha' by Akal Takht.
"To maintain the peace and communal harmony in the country, as a CM of the state, it is your duty to ensure the protection of religious sentiments of all the communities,” reads the letter.
“In a democratic country, the citizens have all rights to display, carry and endorse the photos of their respective leaders or idols, and no such statement or decision should be made from the constitutional post,” it continues.
It is worth remembering that Bhindranwale was a secessionist and for all practical purposes, a terrorist to the Republic as his end goal was dismemberment of the Motherland.
Although some believe the frankenstein of Bhindranwale was created by Indira Gandhi to undercut Akali Dal in Punjab, with the passage of time, Bhindranwale became a weapon of our neighbour's asymmetric warfare strategy. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan decided to fuel regional insurgencies in India to avenge their abject defeat against India in the 1971 war.
Jagjit Singh Chohan played a crucial role in this unholy alliance against the Indian Republic. According to some records he even met Pakistan's army dictator Yahya Khan as early as 1971.
Dissolving fissures of regionalism and caste remain a challenge.
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