AMRITSAR, Punjab, India:
The concluding day of the forty day Dharna at every district headquarter sponsored by the Unified Akali Dal was marked by unruly scenes and rowdyism on February 11, when activists of Manjit Singh Section of A.L.S.S.F. Came to oppose Mr. Harbhajan Singh Sandhu whose repeated efforts to speak on the occasion were successfully thwarted. So disgusted were the party leaders, Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhminder Singh, that they offered to quit the leadership if the militant youth who lacked experience, insisted on dictating them. Mr. Badal said it would have a bad effect on the press. The A.L.S.S.F. activists present in large numbers on the stage were in a militant mood apparently at the instigation of party general secretary, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura whose rivalry with Mr. Sandhu is well known. Both belong to the same constituency Mizhara Panna, in Amritsar district, The A.LS.S.F. Minced no words in issuing threats to Sandhu and frequently shouted slogans in favor of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and the A.LS.S.F. There was never a peaceful moment in the whole day Every time a skirmish took place between the A.IS\S.F. activists and the Sandhu group, some people from the audience would walk away in disgust and fear. At one stage, the two groups most of his took out swords and hockeys but the situation was controlled. Security forces deployed in. Security forces deployed in full strength at the side watched the drama in silence without intervention. The only speakers who were listened to with attention were. Bad Sukhjinder Singh and to some extent. Baba Joginder Singh Badal who was the last to speak spent most of his 20 minutes emphasizing the need for unity. Not only in the party but also in the Panth. He ruled out the induction of Surjit Singh Barnala and any of his party members to his party. While repeating the five demands presented to the Centre as a prelude to bring about normalcy in the State which includes general amnesty for all Sikhs detained, release of army deserters, apology by the government to the Sikhs repressed by the Black Laws and punishment of those guilty in the November, 1984 antiSikh riots, he added, only a fool would talk to the Center. He observed that a solution to the Punjab problem could not be brought about by the continued repression unleashed by Ray, Ribeiro government on the Sikhs. Badal made a volley of attacks at the Centre and the Punjab government. He also announced that two member panels has been formed by his party to enquire into cases of fake police encounters, The report would be kept till the time they came to power and suitable action will be taken against all policemen and officers. Baba Joginder Singh who was the last to speak walked away after his own speech.
Article extracted from this publication >> February 19, 1988