AMRITSAR, India: the newsmen, the High Priests rejected the plea of the ruling Akali Dal that its views have not been heard. Prof. Darshan Singh added that his aim was not to unite the individuals having differences, but the various factions on the principles of Gurmata, to attain the principles and objectives of Akali Dal. Only weak sentiments have been changed. We have taken the right decision and there is no need to reconsider. The Priests explained that their directive to all chiefs of faction of Akalis was forging the unity and strengthening the Panth and not dissolving the Akali Dal.

Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala had offered time and again to resign from the President ship of the party but now was turning away from the Akal Takht on the orders of the Center. His resignation would not have led to the dissolution of Akali Dal or the toppling of the government. The Center has been threatening the ministry with dismissal if he obeyed the directive of the Akal Takht.

Referring to the objectives and aims of the of Akali Dal, he claimed that these were based on Anandpur Sahib Resolution. The Priests said that those who oppose Panthic unity were neither loyal to the Panth nor to the country.

The crisis began on Tuesday when the five Head Priests, meeting in the Golden Temple, ordered the leaders of all Akali Dal factions to resign in what they said was a move to recreate the unity of the main Sikh party.

Most Indian commentators however see the affair as an attempt by militant Sikh politicians to force Barnala from office in a state where religion and politics are intertwined.

In an editorial today, the Independent Indian Express newspaper, said, “Freedom fighters have once again acquired complete control over the Golden Temple”.

Leaders of two of the four main Akali factions complied with the Priests’ initial deadline of five p.m. on Thursday, but Barnala refused. The Priests found Barnala guilty of defiance and set up a new “Unified Akali Dal” headed by a detained Sikh leader, S. Simranjit Singh Mann, a former high ranking police officer who had resigned his job in protest against army attack on the Golden Temple in 1984.

Article extracted from this publication >>  February 13, 1987