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No consensus on calendar
Jathedars appoint panel
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Dec 23 — The controversy over the implementation of the Nanakshahi Jantri (calendar) is likely to spill over the next millennium. The meeting of the five high priests, the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, representatives of Panthic organisation and the Sant Samaj failed to resolve the calendar issue.

After the day-long deliberations at Akal Takht, the Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, announced a seven-member committee comprising Sikh intellectuals to study suggestions and representations from individuals and organisations. The committee has been asked to present its report to Akal Takht at the earliest. A statement in this regard was signed by Jathedar Akal Takht Giani Puran Singh, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar Keshgarh Sahib, Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar Damdama Sahib, Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Priest Sri Darbar Sahib, Giani Mohan Singh, Head Priest Akal Takht. It was stated that the report of the committee would be discussed at length before being forwarded to the SGPC.

The members of the committee include the caster of the new controversial calendar, Mr Pal Singh Purewal (Canada), Col Surjit Singh Nishan (Chandigarh), Mr Ajit Singh (Mohali), Mr Pritam Singh, Dr Rai Jasbir Singh, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Mr Santokh Singh and Dr Kirpal Singh (both from Amritsar).

Talking to newsmen after the meeting Giani Puran Singh said that till the acceptance of the report, the ban on the printing of the calendar will continue.

There were noisy scenes near the venue of the meeting when task force members tried to stop representatives of various organisations from entering Akal Takht. Baba Mangal Singh Satlani said Baba Gurdeep Singh Issapur sustained injuries. The Baba added that the invitation had been sent to over 165 Panthic organisations by Giani Puran Singh. He regretted that task force members barred their entry after the arrival of Bibi Jagir Kaur.

Baba Kashmira Singh, head of the pro-Gurmat Sidhant Sant Samaj from Jalandhar opposed the SGPC move to bring out the calendar. He raised many religious issues and decried the working of the SGPC.

Bibi Jagir Kaur described Baba Kashmira Singh’s remarks as totally out of context. She also denied that heads of Panthic organisations and Sant Samaj were denied entry to Akal Takht by the task force. She said the new calendar would be printed on the basis of report.

The press note issued by the Akal Takht jathedar stated that the committee would take into the account sentiments of the Sikh community besides giving due weightage to the events in the Sikh history.Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar Keshgarh Sahib, said the committee would submit its report within 10 days.

The controversy over the issue would be resolved before the end of century, he assured. Mr Santokh Singh from here would be the convener of the committee.Certain representatives of Sikh organisations, including the Kendriya Sikh Sabha stated that the new calendar does not mention the dates of festivals: Divali, Dasehra, Holi, Amavasya and Puranmashi. The calendar would divide Hindus and Sikhs, they feared.

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