Tuesday, May 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Badal, Tohra called at Takht
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 26
After studying the letter of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, the Sikh clergy has decided to call him (Mr Badal) and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, on June 5 separately for a ‘discussion’.

This is for the first time that a person accused of violating a ‘hukamnama’ has been invited for ‘consultations’ in the secretariat instead of being summoned at Akal Takht. The summoning of Mr Tohra has come as a ‘rude shock’ to the rank and file of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD).

While Mr Badal has been called at 11 am, Mr Tohra would meet the Sikh clergy at 12 noon. Mr Tohra had set one condition for forging unity with the SAD — Mr Badal’s unconditional apology before the Takht for violating the edict issued by the then Jathedar Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, on December 31, 1998, directing leaders of warring Akali factions to maintain a truce till the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa Panth (April 15, 1999).

Though the marathon meeting of the Sikh high priests, which lasted more than four hours, found certain Sikh high priests, members of the SGPC, the then chief of the Disciplinary Action Committee and many Akali stalwarts guilty of violating the ‘hukamnama’, yet the Sikh clergy zeroed in on Mr Tohra and Mr Badal, according to sources.

The sources said the Sikh clergy might award only ‘mild tankhah’ to the two leaders. In his letter to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, Mr Badal had not mentioned he had violated the edict issued on December 31, 1998.

Meanwhile, the Sikh clergy has imposed a blanket ban on protest dharnas or rallies in the premises of Akal Takht and the Golden Temple following attempts by activists of the Khalsa Panchayat to stage a dharna in front of the SGPC office to demand removal of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti as Jathedar of Akal Takht.

In a significant development, the Sikh high priests have banned naming of non-historic gurdwaras after Sikh Gurus.


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