NEW DELHI: An article by veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar in The Citizen that contends that “Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was a Bhindranwale in the making” has sparked an outcry, with Sikh groups staging a protest in Hoshiarpur today. Nayar’s article had appeared in The Citizen on September 10.

Soon after the article appeared, The Citizen’s twitter handle and inbox were flooded with messages denouncing Nayar’s column. On Thursday, September 14, Sikh youth associated with Dal Khalsa and Akali Dal Mann staged a protest in Hoshiarpur against Nayar “for drawing false and imaginary comparison between Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and convicted rapist godman Gurmit Ram Rahim.”

A statement on the protest emailed by the Dal Khalsa reads, “Led by Sikh Youth of Punjab (SYP) the youth took out a march in the city holding placards of Sant Bhindrawale describing him the real warrior. The protesters denounced the writings of Nayyar and sought unconditional apology from him.

SYP president Paramjit Singh Tanda blackened the picture of Nayyar to express their anger. “Nayyar has misused his pen to defame and degrade our national hero (read Bhindrawale). We have used black ink to blacken his face on poster to express our resentment”, said he while addressing the demonstrators.

He said the Sikhs were perturbed the way Nayyar has drawn comparison between debauch and degenerated person like Ram Rahim and the dedicated warrior of high character like Sant Bhindrawale. “Nayyar has crossed all limits. He must tender apology to Sikh Panth. Otherwise we won’t allow him to address any public gathering or function in Punjab”.

SYP head castigated the traditional Akali leadership for keeping mum. Those who claim to have enjoyed the warmth of Sant Bhindrawale are presently enjoying high positions in Akali Dal and the SGPC. But ironically, their lips are sealed courtesy Badals closeness with Nayyar. Dal Khalsa activist Nobeljit Singh said Nayar keeps on spitting venom against Sikh heroes from time to time and added that he needs to be tamed.

Akali Dal (Amritsar) activist Gurnam Singh said, it’s not the first time that the columnist has undermined and defamed Sikh personalities and organizations. Calling him a habitual liar, he said Nayyar has leveled wild allegations against Sant Bhindrawale by calling him Congress agent. SYP district president Gurnam Singh said Nayyar should know that “stooges” don’t embraced death for the cause.”