Amritsar:  Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was yesterday bestowed the ‘Panth Rattan Fakhr-e-Qaum (Jewel of the religion, pride of the community)' title by the Sikh clergy here, drawing a strong reaction from Sikh radical groups.

The title was bestowed on Badal, who is the patron of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab, by Gurbachan Singh, the jathedar (head) of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion, at a ceremony inside the Golden Temple complex.

A spokesman said Badal was bestowed with the title, the highest in Sikh religion, "in recognition of his outstanding contribution and glorious services rendered by him during his long Panthic and political career".

The All India Sikh Students Federation and the Dal Khalsa criticised the decision.