Akal Takht chief Jathedar Gurbachan Singh

Akal Takht move draws flak from various quarters

Amritsar, Punjab: The Akal Takht move to ex-communicate Haryana Finance Minister Harmohinder Singh Chattha, HSGPC leaders Jagdish Singh Jhinda and Deedar Singh Nalvi for “conspiring to divide the SGPC” has drawn flak from various Sikh leaders and intellectuals.

Among the prominent faces who resented the move are SGPC member Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, the granddaughter of SGPC founder Master Tara Singh. She raised the voice of dissent in a meeting of the SGPC members chaired by its president Avtar Singh Makkar here this morning. She contended that Akal Takht should not be dragged into the issue, which should be resolved politically and legally.

Talking to The Tribune, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur said it was wrong to take the issue to Akal Takht. She also felt that proper procedure was not followed while ex-communicating these leaders. “The meeting of the SGPC members at 11 am was followed by a meeting of the SGPC executive whose resolution was quickly handed over to the Sikh high priests and by 4 pm Haryana Sikh leaders were ex-communicated. What was the hurry,” she wondered.

She also took exception to the fact that the meeting of the SGPC members was held without installing Guru Granth Sahib at the meeting hall. “Whenever a religious issue is discussed by the SGPC members, Guru Granth Sahib is installed at the meeting venue.” She said it would send a wrong message because if “we ourselves would not follow the ‘maryada’ what we will tell others”.

Kiranjot Kaur also posted on social networking site Facebook, “I am totally opposed to fragmentation of the SGPC but now that Haryana has initiated legal procedure for a Haryana Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, we need to rethink our strategy. Using Akal Takht to de-recognise it is a bad option. I do not agree with the resolution passed in today’s meeting at Teja Singh Samundari Hall that Akal Takht be asked to ex-communicate Sikhs from Haryana who facilitated this separate committee. Many members supported me after the meeting. If Akal Takht is seen to be acting in a partial manner, there is likelihood of revolt! Let us not diminish the authority of Akal Takht, where all Sikhs bow, by using it to crush political dissent.

Noted Sikh scholar Ashok Singh Bagrian said, “The Akal Takht edict is not in the overall interest of the Sikh Panth. It will widen the chasm between the two groups and strengthen the divide between them. It is unfortunate.”

Former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) SP Singh said “it is purely a political issue, which has been turned into a religious one while terming the decision to ex-communicate these leaders as the one taken in haste. With this move, the prestige of the Akal Takht has taken a hit.”

Former DSGMC chief Harvinder Singh Sarna termed it “a black day” in the Sikh history while demanding that the decision be immediately withdrawn. “I would like to know as to which religious disobedience these Haryana leaders have resorted to that they have been ex-communicated.” He said the ruling SAD is “frustrated” as the Centre has not come to its rescue over the Haryana gurdwara panel issue. Radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa also dubbed the Akal Takht edict as “unprincipled and unacceptable”.

Dal Khalsa Chief HS Dhami and spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh felt the three Sikh leaders have been ex-communicated arbitrarily and with no fault of them. “Asking for their right to manage gurdwaras independent of Badals was no way a sin. The Badals are unable to digest their moral defeat and in the desperation they are all set to destroy the supremacy and sanctity of august seat of the Akal Takht Jathedar and the credibility of the SGPC,” they said.

The duo alleged that the edict released from the Akal Takht was drafted and finalised by the ruling SAD’s core committee in Chandigarh yesterday. They charged that the resolution passed in the SGPC executive meet was also “prepared on the instructions of Badal and the executive members were compelled to sign on dotted lines”. They blamed CM Badal and his Deputy CM son Sukhbir for “blatantly misusing the seat and seal of the Akal Takht to fix their adversaries”.

Source: The Tribune


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