Sunday, March 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Seminar favours ‘sarbat Khalsa’
Rejects Puran Singh’s appointment

JALANDHAR, March 4 (UNI) — A Sikh seminar held here today in defiance of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Puran Singh’s directive endorsed the call of sacked Jathedar Ranjit Singh to hold a “sarbat Khalsa” on the historic occasion of Baisakhi next month to find ways and means to restore the pristine glory of Akal Takht.

The seminar, organised by the north-west zone of the World Sikh Council, which along with all its zones had been dissolved by the Akal Takht Jathedar, adopted a resolution rejecting the appointment of Giani Puran Singh as Akal Takht Jathedar by the ruling Akali party, using political power .

The resolution charged Giani Puran Singh with trying to challenge the distinct identity of the Sikhs by opposing the Nanakshahi calendar. It alleged that Giani Puran Singh had hatched a conspiracy under the influence of “Brahminical forces and the RSS to create inferiority complex” in the Sikh community through his “arbitrary and dictatorial edicts”, claiming that the Sikhs were descendants of Luv and Kush, the sons of Lord Rama.

Bhai Ranjit Singh dared Giani Puran Singh to summon him to Akal Takht in defiance of his ban. He urged the Sikhs to shed fear of Giani Puran Singh’s edicts and directives. “When he could not do anything to SGPC President Jagir Kaur whom he had excommunicated he will dare not act against any other Sikh, he said.

The seminar, in another resolution, endorsed the need for a separate calendar for the “Sikh quam” but added that controversy about some disputed dates should be resolved by Sikh scholars.

Dubbing the opposition to the calendar by communal “Hindutava” forces and the RSS as interference in the internal affairs of the Sikhs, the resolution called upon the Sikhs to mobilise themselves against these forces. Bhai Ranjit Singh, however, said the new calendar should be debated thoroughly and consensus arrived at before its implementation.

He said when Giani Puran Singh himself could set up a seven-member and then an 11-member committee of Sikh experts to debate the calendar, he had no right to ban the seminar to discuss the issue.

“I am not aware if the new calendar is right or wrong. But when I received objections against it from Takht Hazoor Sahib and the Sant Samaj, I referred the matter to Jathedar Tohra (then SGPC chief)” he said.

The calendar controversy had led to differences between Bibi Jagir Kaur and Giani Puran Singh. Later, these differences snowballed, leading to her ex-communication from the Panth by the Akal Takht Jathedar through a “hukamnama” issued from Guna in Madhya Pradesh on January 25.

The seminar wanted that the “assault on Akal Takht, genocide of Sikhs, demolition of the Babri mosque, ban on Islamic madarassas, arson in Christian churches, permission by Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh government to let their employees join the RSS and the RSS interference in religious affairs of Sikhs” either in the garb of the BJP or the Congress could lead to a “civil war condition due to communal tension in the country”.

It appealed to all justice-loving people in the country to oppose the activities of these communal forces.

The fourth and last resolution, passed by show of hands on “Akal Takht maryada and Sikh situation”, expressed concern over “war-like atmosphere in South Asia’’. It said expenditure of millions of dollars on producing atom and hydrogen bombs was “an act against humanity”. It condemned the government attempt to “suppress political movements in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere with force”.

The resolution appealed to US President Bill Clinton to focus his attention on “Sikh genocide” in the past 15 to 20 years so that his dream of peace in the South Asian region could be realised.

Meanwhile, Bhai Ranjit Singh, in a blistering attack on Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, alleged that “he (Badal) had been using jathedars as mistresses” to further his political interests, subjugating religion to politics.

Others who addressed the seminar were Mr Gurtej Singh, Punjab Human Rights Organisation Chairman Ajit Singh Bains and World Sikh Council “Secretary General” Narinder Singh.


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