Bhajji tenders apology for anti-religious act

Published: Saturday, October 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Amritsar:Apologising for hurting the sentiments of the Sikhs by appearing in an advertisment with open hair, Team India off spinner Harbhajan Singh today tendered a public apology to the Sikh community and the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandik Committee (SGPC), that had taken a strong notice of the advertisement.

''I am a true Sikh and I am deeply pained for having hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community, with folded hands I apologise to all Sikhs,'' Bhajji said while talking to UNI over telephone from Jalandhar.

''I did not do anything wrong intentionally (by appearing in the ad with open hair) and I am pained that no one guided me,'' he said.

Harbhajan's apology comes after SGPC President Avtar Singh took notice of an ad in which he is shown with his hair untied alongwith Yuvraj Singh and Mahinder Singh Dhooni. The SGPC has already brought this to the notice of the Akal Takht, the highest spiritual and temporal seat of the Sikhs. The SGPC has also demanded that the ad be withdrawn immediately.

Meanwhile, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vidanti when contacted said, ''The Sikh priests will discuss the matter in a day or two at Amritsar.''

When pointed out that Bhajji had tendered an apology, the Jathedar replied, ''We will discuss the matter and then decided. The matter is of a serious nature, as it can have a bearing on the young generation, so it cannot be ignored.''

Taking a dig at the SGPC, the spinner said that he was also hurt that the SGPC had never taken notice of his contributions to the Indian team and had not bothered to honour him or any of his family members. ''They (SGPC) should have first brought their objections to my notice instead of going to the electronic media,'' he said. ''Anyway if I have done something wrong, I feel sorry and regret my action,'' he added.

''I am proud to be a Sikh and son of Dashmesh Pita, Guru Gobind Singh,'' he said. He said he was also proud of having ''done something for the Sikh community, for Punjab and for the country.''

SGPC secretary Harbeant Singh while confirming that the matter had been brought to the notice of the Akal Takht Jathedar, said it would be for the Jathedar to decided on the future course of action against the cricketer. ''A Sikh who has such a large following should not involve himself in anti religious actions,'' he added.

Meanwhile activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Youth Wing, burnt Harbhajan in effigy outside hall gate here. They shouted slogans against the player and demanded that the ad be withdrawn.


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