Anandpur's 350 anniversary: Rajnath Singh appeals to youths to shun drug
Sri Anandpur Sahib (Pb): Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today appealed to the youth of Punjab to take a pledge against the drug menace on the 350 years of foundation of the holy city.
BJP president Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal were among other political leaders to attend the event, which was missed Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was also invited, could not visit the event as he had meeting with visiting Tanzanian President.
Addressing the gathering, Singh said, "I know Punjab government is taking steps and trying its best to prevent it (the drug menace), but whenever I get this news be it Punjab or neighbouring states that youths are into drugs...I want the youths of Punjab to take a pledge on this historic day today that they will fight against drug menace wherever it exists," He said that while SAD-BJP government was taking steps to fight the scourge, but to completely root out the drug menace, it also needs whole hearted cooperation from the public.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Yoga Guru, Ramdev, religious leaders from different faiths, Union Ministers Vijay Sampla and Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Chattisgarh Governor Balramji Das Tandon, Punjab's Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, were among others present on the occasion.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, today canceled her Anandpur Sahib visit in Punjab where she was to come face to face with Shah during the event.
She was represented by her Irrigation Minister Dr Ram Pratap.
"Prime Minister telephoned me this morning and said though he was very keen to be part of this historic day, but engagements in view of the visiting Tanzanian dignitary would keep him busy in Delhi. He then enquired from me whether I was going for sure and I told the PM that no matter what I was headed to Anandpur Sahib," Singh said.
Meanwhile, a commotion occurred before Singh's speech as few youths allegedly from SAD (Amritsar) started sloganeering, but were frisked later by the police.
Reacting to the celebrations being termed as 'show of strength of ruling SAD 'as part of its "Panthic agenda", Singh told the Chief Minister to care least about such people who were spreading these falsehood.
"Badal sahib just said that some people charge that SAD bases its politics on communal agenda. I want to tell you Badal sahib that whatever the world may say, but one thing is clear the sacrifices made by the Khalsa Panth and the Sikh community for the sake of this nation to preserve its integrity, history, culture cannot be belied," he stated.
"In the entire world, there will be no other example where one finds such brave community (Sikhs) who not only sacrificed themselves, but also their children just to protect the integrity and culture of this nation," he said.
He said that the Sikh Gurus gave this message and taught this lesson to fight against tyranny and give a befitting reply to those who violate country's integrity and secular fabric.
The history has numerous examples of brave Sikhs and Punjabis sacrificing lives for the sake of this nation, he said.
Singh said that Sher Shah Suri, Maharana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji and tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, had set examples of fighting against the tyrants.
"How can we forget the sacrifices made by Lala Lajpat Rai and Bhagat Singh, who happily accepted the gallows fighting for the sake of his nation's freedom," Singh continued.
He also termed the Sikhs as "big brothers", saying one does not become higher in stature by protecting an individual, but by protecting and preserving country's culture.
The Home Minister also said that India is a land where people of different faiths including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and others have peacefully co-existed for centuries together and cited an example that when Parsi community was pushed out of Iran, this country became their home and one of its member even went on to become India's Army chief.
Speaking about communal harmony, Singh said, "India is the only country where 71 sects of Islam exist in the entire world".
"This is our rich history and culture, for which the Khalsa Panth and the Sikhs have given numerous sacrifices to protect and preserve," he said, and referred to the secular rule which was established by the then Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
He also said that Sikh community from time to time has bravely stood against those inimical forces who have tried to sow the seeds of hatred between communities in this country.
Singh said that India was a land where people even worship the deadly snakes on the occasion of Nag Panchmi.
Earlier when he began his speech, Rajnath Singh said that CM Badal always bestows him the honour of making speech at the end and despite pointing this to the Chief Minister on many occasions in the past that it was not befitting, he choses to give him this honour.
In his brief address on the occasion, BJP chief Amit Shah said that he wants to thank CM Badal from the core of his heart for having invited him on this historic day.
Notably, the holy city of Sri Anandpur Sahib was founded in 1665 by the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur and further carrying his legacy, Khalsa Panth was created here in 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh.
Shah said the country owes it to the brave Sikhs who gave up their lives for the sake of preserving the unity and integrity of this nation and will always remain indebted to them.
He also recalled the sacrifice made by Guru Tegh Bahadur, who fought the Mughals against the forced conversion of the Hindus.
Shah also said that even small children are aware of the sacrifice made by Guru Gobind Singh.
"I bow before this holy land," Shah said. In his speech, CM Badal without naming anyone, hit out
at those who were trying to dub today's occasion as "Panthic agenda" of the ruling SAD.
"I was reading things like these which were written in a newspaper. If such false and disinformation is spread, what will happen to this country then," he questioned.
He also said that another newspaper report had dubbed today's function as "SAD's show of strength".
Badal made it clear that everyone had been invited for the historic function that included MLAs cutting across party lines.
He said that holy land of Anandpur Sahib was not simply a town, but a thought, a philosophy.
Badal said there was a need to imbibe the message given by our Gurus to preserve the unity and integrity of this nation.
In his address, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that he bows before this holy land of the Gurus, which also remained associated with Haryana, which was then a part of joint Punjab.
Khattar also said that both Haryana and Punjab were like brothers and they should sit together to resolve their outstanding issues.
In his speech, Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the President of SAD, said that the Sikh Gurus taught us to fight against any kind of oppression and raise voice against it.
Touching on the issue of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, he said that even after 30 years of the carnage, the Sikhs were till date fighting for justice.
Yoga Guru, Ramdev said that Sikhs and the Gurus set an example of making sacrifices for the sake of protecting the Hindu faith.