Actor Akshay Kumar today said he has no connection with Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the self-styled godman currently jailed in a rape case. Mr Kumar has been summoned for questioning in a case involving a multiple incidents of sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib three years ago and the subsequent police firing on protesters that left two men dead.
There have been allegations that Akshay Kumar had arranged a meeting between the Gurmeet Ram Rahim -- whose links to the incidences of sacrilege are being investigated -- and Punjab's then Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Mr Badal and his father, former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal have been summoned for questioning as well.
A tweet from the official handle of the Punjab government, posted yesterday, read:
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the police firing incidents in the wake of the Bargari sacrilege case has summoned the Badal father-son duo and actor Akshay Kumar for questioning in connection with the investigation next week....(1/2)— Government of Punjab (@PunjabGovtIndia) November 11, 2018
..While former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has been asked to appear before SIT on November 16, former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has been summoned on November 19 and Akshay Kumar has been asked to come on November 21, at the Circuit House in Amritsar...(2/2)— Government of Punjab (@PunjabGovtIndia) November 11, 2018
In a statement also posted on Twitter, the 51-year-old actor denied "rumours and false statements" about his involvement with Ram Rahim Singh.
Calling reports of a meeting with Sukhbir Badal "fictitious", Akshay Kumar said: "I have never ever met Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in my life, anywhere. I learnt from social media at some point that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh resided for a while at some place in my locality Juhu in Mumbai but we never ever crossed each other's paths".
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his government had no role in the summoning of the Badals and Akshay Kumar. "The SIT (Special Investigative Team) was an independent entity and was functioning without any government interference," Mr Singh told reporters.
The incidents of sacrilege were reported from Punjab's Burari and its surrounding villages in November 2015. As people hit the streets across the state to protest, in Faridkot, two persons were killed and 37 injured when the police tried to control the mob.
After coming to power, the Congress government led by Amarinder Singh ordered an investigation into the matter by a retired judge.
The report indicated that the sacrilege incidents were linked to the Akal Takht's pardon to the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda chief in a blasphemy case. Then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had allegedly mediated with the Akal Takht -- the highest religious body of the Sikhs -- in the matter.
Earlier too, Akshay Kumar denied any connection with Gurmeet Ram Rahim, even though his wife Twinkle Khanna tweeted to say the controversial religious figure had moved into the neighbourhood. Gurmeet Ram Rahim is currently serving a 20-year term in a rape case at a jail in Haryana's Rohtak.
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