Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, at a meeting of the committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to organise the 400th birth anniversary of the ninth Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur, raised the issue of the farmers’ protests and requested him to end the stalemate.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah were among the other prominent members who attended the virtual meeting on Thursday.
“I would also like to make a request. The farmers’ movement has been going on for 133 days. The farmer of the country also represents the Guru and has the largest participation of the farmers of Punjab. The Prime Minister had said he was at a distance of a phone call. But that distance is not yet over. I urge the Prime Minister to take the initiative to find a solution by paying immediate attention to the demands of the farmers,” Mr. Kharge was quoted as saying in a statement released by the Congress.
At the outset I join my former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh in paying homage personally and on behalf of the Indian National Congress, to the revered Guru Tegh Bahadur, the Ninth Guru of Sikhs on his 400th birth anniversary.
The Congress leader also noted that the celebration should should not be viewed from a religious point of view and publicity should be given to the fact that Guru Tegh Bahadur made the supreme sacrifice for religious freedom.
“He wanted to establish a world order for freedom, peace and unity of religious belief,” he said, adding that events should be organised through consensus.
He also said care should be taken in view of the COVID-19 situation and suggested that vaccination campaigns can be organised in the name of Guru Teg Bahadur in all cities.
Mr. Kharge recalled the efforts of the ninth Sikh Guru in fighting practices such as untouchability, social stereotypes and superstitions.
“Guru Sahib was of the view that religious harmony could be possible only when one is not forced to change religion under pressure. Religion should be left to the choice of the individual, it cannot be forced upon him by the ruler,” he said.
The Congress leader pointed out that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has made a detailed plan in this regard, a logo has also been released and a plan formulated to develop Amritsar, his ancestral home Baba Bakala and the city of Shri Aanandapur Sahib, founded by him.