Vancouver, Canada: Akal Takht has directed members of one group of Sikhs of Canada to explain their “forging unity” after recent parleys in Surrey (Canada) with another group of Sikhs who were ex-communicated from the Sikh Panth for violating its 1997 edict prohibiting partaking of langar by Sikhs on and chairs.
Moderate Sikh leaders of Vancouver-based Ross Street gurdwara and hardliners controlling the Surrey’s Dashmesh Darbar gurdwara had met last month and had announced truce by over seven-point programme “in the larger interests of the Sikhs” .
Apart from deciding on separate Baisakhi processions on separate weekends in Surrey and Vancouver, the two sides had stipulated the “common unity programme” was to resolve issues like gang violence, dera culture and drug menace in the Sikhs .
The meeting of the hardliners and moderates following decades of “ideological differences” and subsequent “truce”, however, had splinter groups alleging the leaders of the two groups had agreed to join forces to achieve “opportunistic goals” and woo more donations.
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, sources pointed out, had asked leaders of one of one group, backing the 1997 Akal Takht edict over langar issue till recently, to explain if its meeting with any or all ex-communicated leaders.
The letter seeking explanation of persons, who had been supporting the 1997 edict so far, has reached Vancouver and hardliners, it was learnt, were busy to find out an “acceptable” explanation. Reply to the explanation was expected to be sent to the Jathedar, on US tour, in a week or so, said one of his aides.
On the complaints of certain Sikhs, then Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh had ex-communicated Sikh leaders, Kashmir Singh Dhaliwal, Jarnail Singh Bhandal, then president of the Ross Street Sikh Temple, Giani Harkirat Singh, Balwant Singh Gill and Tara Singh Hayer, a Vancouver-based journalist who, was later killed in Vancouver in 1998, for defying the edict barring Sikhs from partaking of langar by sitting on chairs.
These leaders, it was learnt, had supported old practice of a section of Canada-based Sikhs partaking of langar using tables and chair with explanation they were adhering to the practice since 1906 “much before the setting up of the SGPC” and owing to harsh weather prevailing in North America when central heating system was not so efficient.