Akali Dal delegation to visit Mumbai Tuesday

June 23rd, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, June 23 (IANS) A high-level delegation led by Punjab’s ruling Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal will go to Mumbai Tuesday to meet the family of a Sikh youth killed there last week in firing by the security guards of controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh. The decision to send the delegation was taken at a meeting of senior Akali Dal leaders here Monday. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh chaired the meeting.

The delegation will comprise Sukhbir Badal, Lok Sabha deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal and senior Akali Dal leaders, a party spokesman said here.

The meeting condemned the incident and the death of the Sikh youth.

The delegation will meet the family of Balkar Singh, who was killed Friday in firing by security guards of the sect chief at a shopping mall in Mulund area of Mumbai. Balkar was protesting along with a few other Sikhs against the presence of the sect chief in Mumbai.

The sect chief has been the target of Sikh protests since May last year when he attired himself on the lines of 10th Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, leading to countrywide protests by Sikhs.

The Akali Dal delegation will also appeal to the Sikh community in Mumbai to maintain calm despite the provocation from the sect chief’s security. It will also meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to demand action against the sect chief and to seek greater security for Sikhs in the state.

Sikh youths had resorted to violence in Mumbai Saturday after the killing of Balkar. They stopped trains and buses, damaged public and private property and forced shops to close. The violence, which affected parts of Mumbai, led to Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray issuing a warning to the Sikh community Monday, asking them not to resort to violence in Mumbai, failing which Shiv Sena volunteers could react.

The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has announced compensation of Rs. 500,000 to the family of the killed youth.

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