Friday, February 4, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Jagir Kaur given ‘siropa’
Akal Takht to take action
Tribune News Service

MUKTSAR, Feb 3 — Bibi Jagir Kaur was presented with a “siropa” (robe of honour) by the manager of Gurdwara Tutti Gandi Sahib here today.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, who has been restrained from working as president of the SGPC till she is re-admitted into the Panth, earlier at a silver jubilee function of Sohan Singh Bhagwan Kaur Charitable Hospital announced a Rs 1 lakh grant from the SGPC for the hospital.

Several members of the SGPC, including MP Zora Singh Mann, members of the Sant Samaj and Mr Sujan Singh, state minister, were present.

Members of the SGPC while addressing the gathering referred to Bibi Jagir Kaur as President of the SGPC.

The Bibi appealed to the people to offer prayers in gurdwaras to resolve the present crisis in the Panth and to help “truth emerge victorious.”

Talking to mediapersons, Bibi Jagir Kaur declined to answer questions relating to the “hukamnama” on whether she continued to be President of the SGPC, she said the question needed to be directed to SGPC members accompanying her. She pointed out that these SGPC members had made her President in a “lawful manner.”

The SGPC members present included Bibi Manjit Kaur, Mr Sarup Singh Nandgarh, Mr Jagjit Singh Brar and Bibi Devinder Kaur.

Mr Devinder Singh Sodhi, who organised the function told TNS that Bibi Jagir Kaur was honoured with a “siropa” as she was fighting evils in Sikhism while Mai Bhago Memorial Gold Medal was given to her for being the first woman President of the SGPC.

Sant Balbir Singh Jattwale, member of the Sant Samaj, addressing the gathering, pointed out that the “hukamnama” issued by Giani Puran Singh was not correct as it could be issued by five priests of recognised Takhts alone.

AMRITSAR: Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar, Akal Takht, has cancelled the crucial meeting of the Sikh clergy which was proposed for February 5.

The five Sikh High Priests who had challenged the “hukamnama” (edict) excommunicating Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief, from the Panth had announced that they would seek an explanation from Giani Puran Singh for “violation of Sikh maryada” at the proposed meeting.

Talking to TNS, here on Thursday, Giani Puran Singh said intimation regarding cancellation of the meeting was being faxed to the High Priests. He, however, did not assign any reason for cancelling the meeting.

Meanwhile, Akal Takht has taken a tough stand on the presentation of a “siropa” (robe of honour) and “Mai Bhago Memorial Gold Medal” to Bibi Jagir Kaur at gurdwara, — Tutti Gandhi Sahib — in Muktsar.

Baba Mangal Singh Satlani, acting President, Gurbani Gurmat Sidhant Sant Samaj, at the residence of Giani Puran Singh announced that the officials of the SGPC who had bestowed honour on Bibi Jagir Kaur would be summoned at Akal Takht shortly.

Meanwhile, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, SGPC Secretary, who had gone to Chandigarh to hand over a certified copy of “hukamnama” to Bibi Jagir Kaur could not meet her as the latter was in Muktsar. All 10 SGPC executive members who were directed to cleanse utensils at “Guru langar” at the Golden Temple completed the tankhah (punishment for religious misconduct) at the temple on Thursday. They are likely to be pardoned by the Akal Takht Jathedar on Friday.


Give in, Badal tells Jagir Kaur
By Gobind Thukral
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 3 — It was a worried Mr Parkash Singh Badal at his persuasive best when Bibi Jagir Kaur met him on Tuesday night at Nawanshahr.

The Chief Minister and the Akali Dal President were trying to sort out the unprecedented stand-off between the Akal Takht chief, Giani Puran Singh, and the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur. While he could convince the SGPC executive members, who sought his advice whether they should present themselves before Akal Takht or not, Bibi Jagir Kaur found it tough to go by Mr Badal’s directives.

Informed sources here said that Bibi Jagir Kaur was sticking to her stand that the Akal Takht chief who was appointed by the Chief Minister and the present set-up of the SGPC could not ignore all other four high priests and Sikh traditions. The Sikh high clergy ought to have got together at Akal Takht and at best issued a ‘hukamnama’, seeking her explanation and that of the SGPC for violating the instructions of the Takht. There was no edict and the issue was unanimously decided by the SGPC that the new Nanakshahi calendar, based on solar system calculations instead of lunar, should be introduced. Mr Badal too had approved this and the government later incorporated it in its calendar. She was being deliberately picked up for humiliation.

Another point which she emphasised was that this would set a wrong tradition as whenever the Jathedar of Akal Takht feels irked by anyone, he merrily picks up four Amritdhari Sikhs, slights other Takht jathedars and issues an edict or excommunicates anyone. Also, now five other priests have taken a stand against the excommunication and so by presenting before the Akal Takht chief, she would be exposing them to a similar treatment. She argued that there were Sikh traditions to prove that the Jathedar of Akal Takht could not issue a ‘hukamnama’ and excommunication alone, a Sarbat Khalsa was a must.

He explained the past circumstances, the role of the former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and the kind of fallout this would have on the Panthic politics. Already, opponents are sharpening their swords. Mr Badal was particularly unhappy with Bibi Jagir Kaur’s uncontrolled and unsavoury language.

He emphasised that with great difficulty he has persuaded the jathedar that he should accept an apology and award a tankhaiya and let her go.Two questions were thrown up before the SGPC chief who has been stopped from functioning. One, without seeking an appointment, offering an explanation and accepting any punishment, she could not continue to be the SGPC chief.

Second, how would she run her dera at Begowal, a source of political and financial clout for her. She as an excommunicated Sikh would not be acceptable to the Akali Dal as well.This may finally bring her around. But the sources said that Mr Badal is fed with up with her and once the crisis is over, she may have to go and may get a small ministerial berth at best.

“She has very successfully queered the pitch for Mr Badal. Only he has so far succeeded in not getting into that”, one political aide summed up the situation. He admitted that this lady’s ‘immature behaviour’ has done enough harm.

“We are trying our best to salvage the situation. The present crisis has given unlimited powers to the Akal Takht Jathedar and the way we had to submit, only showed that our weakness”, he added.

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