Ghanauli (Ropar), Jul 8: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today equated the "atrocious act" of AAP putting up the picture of Sri Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) on the cover of its youth manifesto along with its party symbol 'broom' with "blasphemy".
On the sidelines of a Sangat Darshan programme in Ropar Assembly segment, he described the act as "not merely a crime but a heinous one which is unpardonable". Stating that this has hurt the religious sentiment of Sikhs worldwide, Badal said Aam Aadmi Party's psyche to show "disrespect" to the Sikh religion has come to the fore through this "disgraceful act" which amounted to "sacrilege".
Justifying the legal action likely to be taken by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) against the guilty for this "dastardly act", he said law would take its own course as the state has already enacted the Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Act, 2016.
The Chief Minister elaborated that the Act has added Section 295AA to IPC under which the maximum punishment for an act of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib is life imprisonment.
The Bill also seeks an enhancement in the quantum of punishment under section 295, IPC (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) from two to 10 years of imprisonment. Badal said this "inhumane" act of AAP spoke volumes of their "insensitivity" towards the respect for holy scriptures such as Guru Granth Sahib, Bhagvad Gita and Quran Sharif.
On Congress leader Sunil Jakhar's reported statement issuing an ultimatum to him to ensure a favourable response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, the Chief Minister said it was "unbecoming" of a senior leader of Jakhar's stature as the case was already pending in the Supreme Court and the final verdict was expected anytime.
"How could the Prime Minister intervene in the matter at this point of time when the case is already sub-judice," he said, adding that Jakhar was "playing to the gallery to score brownie points" ahead of the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls.
Badal said Jakhar was well aware of the fact that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had ordered the then Punjab Chief Minister to dig the canal and that she had personally laid the foundation stone of the project in the presence of senior leaders including current state Congress chief Amarinder Singh and several other stalwarts of the party.
He advised Jakhar to play a "constructive role" over the issue to safeguard the interests of the state for the betterment of its people rather than "politicking" on it.