Taking into account the sentiments of the Sikh community which had taken exception to the statues of folk dancers at the Heritage Street in the vicinity of the holy Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ordered the Cultural Affairs Department to shift and relocate the same to some other appropriate place in Amritsar.
The statues, installed during the previous SAD-BJP regime, had been vandalised by some angry protestors on January 15 in a fit of emotional outburst. Taking a lenient view of the youngsters involved in the vandalism, the Chief Minister has also directed the DGP to review the cases registered against the seven accused protestors and withdraw the stringent sections of IPC registered against them.
The actions of the youth were not malicious but a reflection of the pain felt by the Sikh community which felt hurt at the statues, displaying Bhangra and Giddha, being located close to the precincts of the holy Gurdwara Sahib, he added.
Sukhbir Badal unveiling the Heritage street
It may be recalled that the Bhangra and Giddha diorama was installed and inaugurated by the previous SAD-BJP Government in October 2016 on the pedestrian path of the heritage street. The protestors were agitating over the statues of the folk dancers, which they termed as violative of Sikh religious sentiments as they were installed near the holy Golden Temple.
The statues were damaged by the protestors who felt hurt by them.
Cases against the accused were registered u/s 307, 434, 427, 353, 186, 148, 149 of IPC and u/s 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act,1984.
Following the January 15 incident, various Sikh organisation, including Sri Akal Takht Sahib, SGPC, Shiromani Ragi Sabha (including Kirtanis of Golden Temple), Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Shiromani Dhadi Sabha and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committees, had come out in the support of the accused arrested by the police.
The Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib has already formed a 3-member committee to pursue the relocation of statues to some other place in Amritsar.
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