Amritsar — Baba Joginder Singh father of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale has summoned a sarbat Khalsa convention on May 15, 1985 to consider steps for the restoration of Sikh dignity and honor and also to devise ways and means to permanently safeguard the sanctity of Sikh religious shrines.

Baba Joginder Singh is a deeply religious man and commands considerable respect among all the Sikhs. He was being persuaded to provide leadership at this crucial juncture by the Sikh masses, and Sikh leaders of various political hues including Sant Harchand Singh Longowal and S. Jagdev Singh Talwandi. Sikh youth particularly entreated him to take up the responsibility as he alone had the image and personality to ensure unity among the Sikhs. Baba Joginder Singh finally agreed and announced a 9 member adhoc committee comprising S. Simaranjit Singh Mann (Convener), S. Jagjit Singh, S. Gurtej Singh, Bhai Manjit Singh, (AISSF President and brother of Bhai Amrik Singh), S. Harinder Singh (Norway), G.S. Tohra, Sant Harcharn Singh Longowal, S.J.S. Talwandi and S. Inderjit Singh Advocate, Faridkot. The committee, according to sources was announced in consultation with Sant Harchand Singh Longowal and other Sikh leaders.

However, subsequently Longowal dissociated himself from the committee and declared that he had not resigned in favor of Baba Joginder Singh but had called a meeting of the Akali Dal High command for May 17 to consider the issue. Baba Joginder Singh has not formally joined the Akali Dal as reported in a section of the press but has agreed to lead the movement because of the express wish of the entire Sikh Community. Longowal’s somersault has incensed the Sikhs all over the world and is being interpreted as a negative step that would hurt the Sikh cause. Contrary to his public assertions, Longowal, sources feel, seems more concerned with his chair than with the Sikh cause. Longowal’s somersault has brought a sharp division among the Akalis. A large number of Jathedars and Party functionaries are openly supporting Baba Joginder Singh.

The most important development is the emergence of the Sikh youth as a powerful force. The period after the operation Blue star in which Sikh youth were hunted like criminals by the army and the police forces, has emboldened the youth and they appear determined to face all the odds in their struggle for an honorable life. Youth has come to dominate the Punjab scenario and Longowal had to speak their language during his tours of the rural Punjab. Longowal changed his tune during his Delhi tour where he described the assassins of Mrs. Gandhi as non-Amritdhari Sikhs having nothing to do with Akali Dal.

Political analysts feel that the May 15 convention of Sarbat Khalsa will help in bringing forward a representative Sikh leadership committed to the Sikh cause. Personalities with credibility and clean image will be entrusted with the duty of providing the correct leadership. This convention would mark a turning point in the Sikh history.

A 31 member advisory committee would be constituted at the convention to attend to the affairs of the Sikhs.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 10, 1985