Friday, January 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Takht chief not to be sacked
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — While the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, will be given a categorical assurance by the Shiromani Akali Dal and SGPC leadership that he would not be removed from the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, the executive committee of the SGPC will appear before him at Akal Takht on February 2.

Talking to TNS here this morning, Mr Hardalbir Singh Shah, general secretary of the SGPC, said the executive would abide by the directive by the Takht Jathedar asking the executive members to appear before the Takht on February 2. “There is no question of disobeying the edict issued by the Jathedar, telling the executive members to appear at Akal Takht”, Mr Hardalbir Singh added.

From his statement it was clear that the executive of the SGPC was not prepared for any sort of confrontation with the Jathedar of Takht but it wanted to soothen his ruffled feathers by obediently appearing before him and to make their position clear to him as regards to various issues, including the controversy about the calendar.

Meanwhile, informed party sources said there were a consensus at the meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD headed by Mr Badal that Giani Puran Singh should be given a categorical assurance by all concerned, including Mr Badal and the leadership of the SGPC, that he would not be removed from the office held by him.

Besides members of the PAC, other leaders of the party and the SGPC were also present at the meeting held under the chairmanship of Mr Badal. The issue of giving an assurance to Giani Puran Singh was raised by a very senior leader of the SAD. It was suggested that a senior leader close to Giani Puran Singh should be rushed to Hazoor Sahib (Nanded) to give an assurance on behalf of Mr Badal and the SGPC. Giani Puran Singh had gone to Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib in Maharashtra to attend the bhog ceremony of Jathedar Hazoora Singh, who died a few days ago.

However, the proposal to send the senior leader, Hazoor Sahib was dropped due to lack of time. It was felt that no one would be able to reach there till tomorrow morning (January 28) and by that time Giani Puran Singh would start a return journey to Punjab. Even by air, it was not possible to reach at Hazoor Sahib till this evening. It is a four-hour run from Hyderabad where one could reach by air.

But, according to high placed sources, Mr Badal had detailed talks with the Jathedar at Hozoor Sahib over phone this morning. It is obvious that Mr Badal must have conveyed the feelings of the PAC members to the Jathedar that he would not be removed.

At the meeting most speakers urged Mr Badal to tell the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, to use restrain while making statements about the “delicate” issues, especially controversial ones. They were of the view that “loud” statements make by the SGPC chief with regard to Panthic issues have put the entire party and the Panth in trouble.” The Nanakshahi calendar, which was a non issue a few months ago, had become such a big issue within a short period due to ‘mishandling’ by all concerned that the entire Panthic leadership had been jolted by it,” said a senior party leader at the last evening meeting.

There was an immediate need to defuse the situation by asking all concerned not to make any statement henceforth. Otherwise matters would get complicated.

Some senior members recalled at the meeting that Giani Puran Singh is a person who has made sacrifice for the SAD headed by Mr Badal.

When no one, was prepared to be Jathedar of Akal Takht after the removal of Bhai Ranjit Singh, only Giani Puran Singh came forward to accept the same despite strong opposition by his family members. There must be something wrong with the SAD and the SGPC if such a person had turned against the President of the SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur, who is a personal choice of Mr Badal, a senior party leader observed.

The meeting of the PAC was called by Mr Badal to discuss the issue of ex-communication of Bibi Jagir Kaur by Giani Puran Singh, and for resolving the same.

Meanwhile, Mr Hardalbir Singh said he had no information regarding the SGPC meeting on January 29 at Amritsar. “I have received no intimation in this connection”.

The other question that was being debated by all concerned is whether Bibi Jagir Kaur could be called for the meeting of the SGPC or the party when she had already been ex-communicated by the Takht Jathedar.


Bhai Kulwant Singh to be Jathedar of Hazoor Sahib
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Jan 27 — Bhai Kulwant Singh will be the next Jathedar, Abchal Nagar Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib (Maharashtra), the fifth Takht of Sikhs. Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht, will attend the installation ceremony, according to official sources.

Giani Puran Singh will return to Amritsar on January 30. Bhai Kulwant Singh will be installed in place of Jathedar Bhai Hazoora Singh, who had died at Nanded (Maharashtra) a few days ago.

According to sources, Giani Puran Singh will hold significant discussions with the new Jathedar in the wake of his ‘hukamnama’ (edict) which ‘ex-communicated’ SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur. He will also mobilise the ‘Sikh opinion’ there, as the edict has been issued on the pretext that the SGPC chief had defied the directives of Akal Takht so far as the controversial Nanakshahi calendar issue was concerned. It is pertinent to mention here that Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib had already published a ‘jantri’ (calendar) on the basis of Bikrami Samvat. Giani Puran Singh and a section of Sant Samaj is also in favour of the traditional calendar. Takht Patna Sahib (Bihar) has also implemented the traditional calendar.

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