CHANDIGARH: The Congress-led Punjab Government is in a catch-22 situation as the Sikh leaders have refused to call off their six-month-long protest at Bargari until the state government gave in to their demands which include arrest of culprits in sacrilege cases, action against guilty police officials who opened firing on peaceful protesters at Behbal Kalan and release or shifting of Sikh prisoners.
As thousands of Sikhs gathered today at Bargari for the Insaaf Morcha and the Sikh leaders said their protest would continue until the state government makes up its mind.
In his address Dhian Singh Mand said, "We are not ending morcha but we're changing its outline. No 'tactical dealing' with the state government. From today, the morcha will take new turn. Announcement regarding this will be made in the days to come.''
He also said that they will make sure release of Jagtar Singh Hawara. He refuted allegations that panthic leaders misappropriated funds meant for the protest and said organisers had spent Rs 1.26 crore of Rs 1.48 crore were received as donation in last 192 days.
Congress cabinet ministers Sukhjinder Randhawa and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa also addressed the protest, but protesters remained unmoved with several in the audience even choosing to walk out of the venue.
Simranjit Singh Mann says arresting of all accused in sacrilege incidents is their foremost demand. Another one is to bring guilty policemen to book. Congress MLA from Patti Harminder Singh Randhawa said that Badals should seek forgiveness at Bargari for their mistake.
"Badals also say Panth is in danger, but it is his family that is in danger. In contrast to Guru Gobind Singh, who sacrificed his sons for panth, Badal sacrificed panth for his family,'' he said.