Dramatic and swift developments are _ taking place in the Akali Dal headquarters since the resignation of Mr. Harchand Singh Longowal from the presidency of the Akali Dal was announced. Mr. Gurdev Singh Talwandi, secretary, Akali Dal said that a meeting of district jathedars of Akali units, to whom Mr. Longowal had tendered his resignation, has been summoned on May 22, at Akali Dal headquarters here to consider the resignation of Mr. Longowal and subsequent developments.

The Akali Dal secretary further said he rushed to Mr. Longowal’s village, Sangrur, for confirmation of his resignation.

Informed Akali sources said that the meeting of district jathedars will repose its confidence on the leadership of Mr. Longowal and request him to guide the Akali Dal and Sikh Panth at this critical juncture. The jathedars, meetings will reject the resignation letter of Mr. Longowal and thus avert the impending crisis in the Akali Dal.

Joginder Singh on the other hand had dropped the plan of Sarbat Khalsa meeting scheduled for May 15 in a bid to avoid division in Sikh ranks. He had consented to take up the leadership on the express and written request of all leaders including Harchand Singh Longowal and his objective was to bring complete unity among various Sikh factions and groups. It appears that Longowal and his followers subsequently changed their stand as they thought that they have been outmaneuvered by the hardliners.

Indian Press also projected the emergence of S. Joginder Singh as the defeat of Longowal, Badal and Tohra nexus. The meeting on May 22 may also not come off as there is a strong public pressure against it. But in case the Longowal group goes ahead with it and dissociates itself from the unity efforts of S. Joginder Singh, then, there is every possibility that the Sikh masses might press S. Joginder Singh to summon Sikh Ekta Convention in order to have the verdict of the people on this issue.

Sources feel that S. Joginder Singh won’t stoop to politicking and would gladly relinquish the responsibility entrusted upon him to forge unity if the Sikh masses so desire.

Baba Joginder Singh has expressed great shock and sorrow over the recent spate of violence in the country. He has charged the Govt. with sabotaging his efforts of unity in the panth by dubbing them as ‘extremist.’ Referring to the bomb blasts, he said that,” it appeared the Government had chalked out a plan to create violence to defame Sikhs.”’

Significantly the bomb explosions came in the wake of Baba Joginder Singh’s appointment as convener of the United Shiromani Akali Dal. Evidently the purpose appears to be to damage his reputation and project his emergence as the victory of the so called ‘militants’. Govt. knows that there are no ‘moderates’ or ‘militants’ among the Sikhs. There are only committed Sikhs and ‘Sarkari’ Sikhs. Committed Sikhs are being purposely distinguished from the ‘Sarkari’ Sikhs by such derogatory terms as ‘terrorists,’ ‘separatists’ or ‘militants.’ And an atmosphere of violence is being generated through the same agencies that carried out antiSikh riots after Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s_ death. These acts of violence serve a number of objectives:

— defame the committed Sikhs,

— build up the Sarkari Sikhs,

—win the majority community’s support for the government

— keep Pakistan at tender books by blaming it of anti-India acts

Sources feel that Government is not keen to solve the Punjab problem for political reasons and short term party gains.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 24, 1985