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Wednesday, September 2, 1998
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Tohra meets two Jathedars
From Our Correspondent

PATIALA, Sept 1 — SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra today held a closed door meeting with Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar Sri Kesgarh Sahib and Giani Kewal Singh Jathedar, Sri Damdama Sahib at gurdwara Dukhnivaran Sahib here today and discussed ways to resolve the ongoing "jathedar's controversy".

The meeting lasted for nearly two hours. Local member Parliament Prem Singh Chandumajra also remained in the meeting for a short while in the beginning but then he left.

After the meeting Mr Tohra accompanied the two jathedars up to the place where the Jathedars' cars were parked. These two Jathedars are at loggerheads with Bhai Ranjit Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht over certain issues including the accounts of the World Sikh Council.

Mr Tohra refused to divulge anything about what transpired at the meeting but after persistence by reporters said that the issue of Jathedars was very controversial one and it should not be touched upon.

Mr Tohra is expected to meet Bhai Ranjit Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht today or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Bhai Jaswir Singh Khalsa, former Jathedar, Akal Takht today at a press conference at the same venue and time expressed anguish at the way the controversy had been blown up by the present Jathedars. He said that it was a matter of Sikh clergy and the Jathedars should not have gone to the press. Instead the matter should have been reported first to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, or the Sant Samaj. He also said that Mr Barjinder Singh, Editor, Ajit should have also refrained from writing editorials over the issue in his newspaper.

Talking about the celebrations of the tercentenary of the Khalsa Panth, Bhai Jaswir Singh Khalsa said that the SAD-government was indulging in wasteful expenditure by constructing new roads, buildings and five-star hotels at Anandpur Sahib. Instead the emphasis should have been only on the propagation of Sikh religion, and its teachings in the entire world.

Later a peaceful protest march led by Bhai Jaswir Singh Khalsa, who is also the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Panthic), was taken out in the afternoon from Dukhnivaran Sahib gurdwara to the Deputy Commissioner's office at The Mall. A memorandum addressed to Mr Parkash Singh Badal was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner.

Mr Jaswir Singh Khalsa called the memorandum a reminder to the Punjab government on the key pending issues of the state. He lamented that the Shiromani Akali Dal had in its pre-poll promises vowed to settled all these issues.

However even today the central leadership had been giving anti-Punjab statements. He referred to statements of Mr L.K. Advani, Union Home Minister, regarding the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and of other Cabinet ministers about the electricity and water supply issues of the state.

Mr Jaswir Singh Khalsa said that they would move the United Nations if they did not get justice about the demand of the state in the country.

The primary demands made in the two-page memorandum, include passing of a resolution in the state Legislative Assembly condemning the 1984 Blue Star operation and to issue a white paper on the exact loss of lives, property and historical documents kept at the Darbar Sahib Amritsar during the operation.

The Assembly, should also pass a resolution for implementing the Anandpur Sahib resolution and the government should also prepare a list of all missing youths of the state during the days of terrorism.

TNS adds from Amritsar: Bhai Ranjit Singh, Jathedar Sri Akal Takht has reiterated that he would not resign at the instance of any Sikh organisation including the SGPC till proved "guilty". Bhai Ranjit Singh has said that if proved guilty he was ready to resign even at the instance of a common Sikh.

All three Jathedars have already expressed willingness for the mediation of the SGPC for resolving their differences. However, they have also laid down certain pre-conditions for amicable solution. While Bhai Ranjit Singh had said that he would not allow Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Kewal Singh to attend the meetings at Akal Takht till Prof Manjit Singh submitted the accounts of the World Sikh Council. He had also reiterated that Prof Manjit Singh will have to clarify his position that he was a party to the "hukmnama" issued by the Akal Takht to declare some Canadian Sikhs "tankhahiya" (guilty of religious misconduct). It may be mentioned here that Prof Manjit Singh, in a section of the press had stated that he (Prof Manjit Singh) was not a party to the "hukmnama" which declared six Canadian Sikhs "tankhahiya".back

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