Head of the Sikh temporal seat Akal Takht, Giani Harpeet Singh on Saturday claimed that “conversion” of Sikhs was a major concern, and that people in the rural areas were soft targets. He was recently in the news for calling upon Sikh youths to arm themselves with licensed weapons for protection.
“Religious conversion is rampant in Punjab. This is a cause for concern. People, especially those living in villages, are soft targets. They convert their religion in lieu of petty allurements,” said Giani Harpreet Singh on the martyrdom day of Bhai Taru Singh.
He added: “Bhai Taru Singh remained firm in the face of tough times. He had his head scalped rather than cutting his hair and converting to Islam during the Mughal Empire.”
The jathedar further said Bhai Taru Singh should be the role model for the youth. “But, unfortunately, they got inspired by film heroes and deviated from the path of the Sikh faith,” he added.
Many Sikh organisations have raised the issue of conversions, particularly in the rural areas. A majority of them are Dalits, who have converted to Christianity in border areas, including Ajnala, Majitha, Dera Baba Nanak, Fatehgarh Churian, Batala and Gurdaspur.
Recently, Singh in his message on Gurgaddi Divas (enthronement day) of Guru Hargobind, urged Sikh youths to apply for licence for modern weapons for self-defence. In his message, he said this was the need of the hour.
He urged the youth, saying even the guru had used weapons for self-defence. The statement had not gone down well with all parties, with the Congress claiming it reflected on the law and order situation in Punjab and chief minister Bhagwant Mann.