Interim Akal Takhat Jathedaar arrested at Darbar Sahib, many Sikhs detained

Badal and other Punjab leaders planned arrests with Punjab Police, launch smear campaign
By Anju Kaur | November 12, 2015
Indian security forces march through the streets of Punjab after the Sarbat Khalsa, on Nov. 10.

Indian security forces march through the streets of Punjab after the Sarbat Khalsa, on Nov. 10.

Interim Akal Takhat Jathedaar Dhian Singh Mand, appointed by the Sarbat Khalsa on Tuesday, Nov. 10, was arrested by Punjab Police from inside the Darbar Sahib yesterday, Nov. 11, as he addressed the sangat at the Darshani Deori, urging Sikhs to boycott Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Badal.

According to, former Akal Takhat Jathedaar Gurbachan Singh, who was sacked by the Panth on Tuesday, was also addressing the sangat at Darbar Sahib yesterday when he was drowned out by a large number of Sikhs waving black flags, brandishing swords, and shouting slogans against him.

Sikhs, by and large, have not voiced any objection to Gurbachan Singh's removal.

Several other leaders were detained ahead of their proposed march to address Sikhs at the Darbar Sahib, but the plain-clothed policemen swarming the historic gurdwara were unable to stop them from reaching the Akal Takhat.
Shortly after the Sarbat Khalsa, very early Wednesday morning, the Punjab Police arrested Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann and United Akali Dal leader Mokham Singh as a "preventative" measure, according to Both were key organizers of Sarbat Khalsa 2015. Surinder Singh, a journalist with Talking Punjab on-location at the Sarbat Khalsa, also was arrested. Amrik Singh Ajnala, another leading dissident, was placed under house arrest.
The arrests were planned sometime late Tuesday at a meeting hosted by Parkash Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, about 13 other key Punjab cabinet ministers, and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Avtar Makkar, in consultation with Punjab Advocate General Ashok Aggarwal and senior Punjab Police officers, about the legality of preventatively detaining Mann and other Sikh leaders. According to, Bharatiya Janata Party Minister Madan Mohan Mittal was also invited to give input.
The Punjab leadership and Indian media have begun a dangerous smear campaign against the Sarbat Khalsa leadership in particular and Sikhs in general, labeling them "radicals" with "secessionist tendencies" to take Punjab back to the "old days of terrorism," and that the government should "deal strictly" with them.
Badal and his Shiromani Akali Dal Party and leaders of Sikh institutions ousted by the Panth rejected the resolutions passed by the more than 500,000 Sikhs at the Sarbat Khalsa claiming they were not the "voice of the people."