Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday approached the Akal Takht seeking the excommunication of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal from the Sikh faith over their alleged involvement in the police firing on protesters in 2015.
Mr Sidhu also alleged that Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal-- former deputy chief minister and the president of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-- influenced the Jathedar of the Akal Takht to pardon Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a blasphemy case to garner votes of the Dera followers.
However, the edict granting pardon to the controversial Dera chief, who is currently lodged in a jail in Rohtak, Haryana, was later annulled by the Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of Sikhs.
Mr Sidhu in his personal capacity as a Sikh submitted a memorandum at the secretariat of the Takht demanding excommunication of Badals for hurting the sentiments of the Sikh community.
However, as the Jathedar was not present when Mr Sidhu visited, the memorandum was received by an official.
Mr Sidhu, in his four page memorandum written in Punjabi, requested the Jathedar to summon the father-son duo at Akal Takht.
"They should be excommunicated from Sikh fold forthwith," he said.
Mr Sidhu urged the Jathedar to initiate action against Badals as per Sikh customs.
Excommunication from Sikhism implies expulsion from the socio-religious order of the faith. The five head priests led by the Akal Takht Jathedar pronounce such an order.
Later, accompanied by Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar, Mr Sidhu told media persons in Amritsar that, "Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir had wilfully issued orders for firing on a gathering of Sikhs who were holding peaceful protest and demanding arrest of accused responsible for sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib."
Two persons were killed in police firing at Behbal Kalan during a protest against desecration of religious text in 2015. While Parkash Singh Badal was the chief minister back then, his son was the deputy chief minister in the SAD-BJP government and was also in-charge of the home department.
Mr Sidhu also alleged some Dera followers were allegedly involved in sacrilege cases but they too were spared by the previous regime.
The Akal Takht had pardoned the Sirsa-based sect head-- for allegedly appearing in an attire of Guru Gobind Singh during a religious congregation-- on the basis of a written apology sent by him through his messenger in 2015.
Three weeks later, bowing to pressure from the Sikh community and hardliners, the Sikh clergy headed by Jathedar Gyani Gurbachan Singh decided to annul its earlier order issued on September 24, 2015.