Catering to the Sikh constituency back home, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen visited the ‘Khalsa’ town, Anandpur Sahib, paid obeisance at the Takht Kesgarh Sahib and had a good glimpse to the Khalsa heritage complex.
He departed from the practice of going to the Golden Temple, the supreme place of Sikh sanctity in Amritsar, and chose a place of obeisance which is identified with ‘nihangs’ and their rebellion. It is for the first time that a world leader paid obeisance at the Takht Kesgarh Sahib overlooking the Golden Temple.
His visit to the Takht Kesgarh Sahib seems to be an attempt to address the Sikh hardliners a day after he promised prime minister Manmohan Singh to contain the activities of the Sikh radicals in Canada.
He was accompanied by minister of democratic reforms Tim Upal and minister of state for Sports Baljit Gosal. A An estimated five lakh Punjabi immigrants live in Canada and they form a core support group for the prime minister.
Among other things, the Punjabi immigrants have been demanding that Punjab be declared the second language in Canada. “There is nothing wrong in going to the Anandpur Sahib. This is also an equally respectable place for the Sikhs as the Golden Temple is,” said a senior Akali Dal minister.