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Sikh groups laud Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intent, but not happy with ‘Veer Baal’

AMRITSAR: PM Narendra Modi’s move to declare December 26 as “Veer Baal Diwas” to pay tribute to the martyr sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh has evoked a mixed response from Sikh organisations, with objections largely centred around the choice of name. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which has the largest representation of Sikhs, acknowledged the announcement as a possibly emotional gesture while pointing out that it didn’t have the Panth’s (religious order) approval. Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal, which is linked to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, hailed the decision even as Shiromani Akali Dal (D) sought a change in the name since the Sahibzadas were revered as “Babas” in the Sikh faith.
“We honour the sentiments of Modi, but at the same time confining the martyrdom of Sahibzadas to Veer Baal Diwas doesn’t represent the emotions, ideology and sentiments behind martyrdom and Sikh traditions,” SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami said.
Such an announcement should have been made only after receiving directions from the Sikhs’ supreme temporal seat Akal Takht, the Jathedar of Akal Takht to take the lead in deciding whether to accord recognition to Veer Baal Diwas the martyrdom of the younger Sahibzadas. “The PM’s announcement could have emerged out of sentiments of honour, but it can’t be construed as (automatically) approved by the panth,” Dhami said. The sixteenth and present head of Damdami Taksal, Baba Harnam Singh, said, “In the 325 years of Indian history, none of the governments had thought of honouring the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas but Modi has fulfilled his duty which is highly appreciable. ” While expressing gratitude to Modi, SAD (D) chief and former Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief Paramjit Singh Sarna suggested changing the name from “Veer Baal Diwas” to “Sahibzada Diwas”.