New Delhi — The Government will not permit any march by the Akalis to Delhi for acceptance of their demands, including release of the Akali leaders, as threatened by the Akali Dal ad hoc committee, as this would endanger the law and order situation.

The Akalis have threatened to launch a march to Delhi from Anandpur Sahib after the completion of the “hola mohalla’’ celebrations on March 8. The march is supposed to be led by the five Sikh head priests. A big gathering of Sikhs, including a large number of “Nihangs’’ gather at Anandpur Sahib on “hola mohalla’’ celebrations which are on the day following Holi.

The Akalis have not yet publicly announced the action they would take if their demands are not accepted. But the proposed march, they also know, will not be possible in view of the long route passing through Haryana where emotions on the Akali demands are equally high because Haryana is a part of at least two of the Akalis major demands.

Punjab circles are of the view that the Akalis are getting restive and they appear to be under great pressure from the extremists. The issue that is disturbing them most is the government refusal to hold a judicial probe into the November riots. A large number of migrants affected by the riots are still in Punjab and their presence is creating more tension.

The Government has taken some steps to assure the migrants of their safety and a number of senior officials from the affected states have visited Punjab for this purpose. But the migrants’ reply has been that the Government had not punished the guilty so far and those who instigated and led the riots were still threatening the people.

The Prime Minister is busy in the Assembly elections till the first week of March. Therefore, there is no possibility of his attending to the Akali grievances before then. However, even the Government is aware that whenever the process of settlement of the Punjab problem starts, the Akalis will not talk unless the Government agrees to hold judicial inquiry into the riots. The release of the Akali leaders can be a secondary issue but they attach top priority to the riots inquiry.

Article extracted from this publication >> February 22, 1985