Troubles are mounting for former Akali leader Sucha Singh Langah, who has been ex-communicated from the Sikh Panth by the Akal Takht — the highest temporal seat of the community — after registration of a rape case against him.
The ex-communication means that the Sikh clergy has recognised Langah in the video that went viral the past weekend showing him in a compromising position with the victim. The punishment given to the former minister by the clergy could also have a bearing on the trial in the case, even as Langah pleaded in the court, while opposing the remand sought by the police, that he is not in the video provided by the victim as evidence.
The video would certainly be referred to the forensic science laboratory for ascertaining its authenticity during the course of the trial. The registration of a fresh case against Langah under Section 295-A (for hurting religious sentiments) also spells more trouble for him.
He is seen wearing kirpan in the viral video. The Akal Takht had termed his appearance in the video as blasphemous and disgraceful. The case is outcome of the pronouncement from the Takht, which had said the video led to hurting of religious sentiments.
Akali leader Langah charged with hurting religious sentiments
SETBACK FOR SAD
The appearance of the video on the social media has also caused a major setback to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Langah was a member of the SAD core committee, the highest decision making body of the party. This explains the “prompt action” by the clergy, which ex-communicated Langah unilaterally, without giving him a chance to explain his position.
He was also the Gurdaspur district president of SAD and a prominent leader in the Majha belt.
Langah, who was also a member of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), was also in the race to become its president in November last year. However, the party chose Kirpal Singh Badungar over him.
SAD’S BYPOLL COMPULSION
After the registration of the rape case against Langah on September 29, he was made to resign from all the posts.
With Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll scheduled for October 11, the SAD was left with no option, but to disown Langah sooner than later.
Addressing an election rally in Gurdaspur two days later, SAD party president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the party had expelled him.
END OF THE ROAD FOR LANGAH?
After ex-communication from the Sikh community , an individual can seek pardon from the Akal Takht to be back into the Sikh fold, for which the banished has to first accept his or her guilt.
If Langah approaches before the Akal Takht for seeking pardon, it would mean that acceptance of his guilt, and the court could also take note of such an act.
Langha seems to have already reached a political dead end in the wake of the viral video and his subsequent ex-communication.
It will be impossible for him to recapture his place on the political landscape, even if he is acquitted in the rape case, as claimed by his legal aides who argue that the court of law and the clergy are two different entities.
STOCKS UP FOR CHHOTEPUR
With Langah’s political career touching its nadir, there’s a political vacuum for SAD in the Gurdaspur area. The Akali party is reportedly considering a proposal to rope in Sucha Singh Chhotepur to fill the void, sources said.
Having a Taksali (hardcore) Akali background, Chhotepur currently heads the Apna Punjab Party (APP), which he floated after breaking away from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the wake of graft allegations levelled against him. Sources close to Chhotepur said Akalis have sent him feelers, but he has not responded so far.
BLURB Sikh clergy’s action means it has recognised Langah in video showing him in compromising position with victim
20 Oct 2017
21 Oct 2017