Wednesday, March 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Sangat’ asked to reject edict
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, March 14 — Even as the five Sikh priests have rejected the “hukamnamas” excommunicating Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief, three high priests and two more from the Sikh Panth, Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar, Akal Takht, has reiterated that an edict once issued cannot be withdrawn.

The five Sikh priests, Giani Gurbachan Singh and Giani Joginder Singh Vaidanti, both granthis of the Golden Temple, Bhai Maan Singh, Head Granthi, Takht Damdama Sahib, Bhai Sukhwinder Singh, Head Granthi, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, and Bhai Nirmaljit Singh, Head Granthi, Gurdwara Chheharta Sahib, in a joint statement today described the March 12 “hukamnama” as “dictatorial”.

They said Giani Puran Singh had ignored Sikh “maryada” and brought disgrace to the Takhts by issuing the “so-called hukamnama” without consulting other high priests.

The five Sikh priests held a meeting in the SGPC complex before issuing the statement. They said it was painful that Giani Puran Singh had rejected the proposal of other four high priests to hold discussions before issuing the “hukamnama”. These four high priests, he said, were there on the invitation of Giani Puran Singh.

They appealed to the Sikh “sangat” to reject the so-called “hukamnama” as it was issued in gross violation of Sikh traditions.

They said if the Sikh masses did not reject the “hukamnama”, it would set a wrong precedent and the authority of the SGPC undermined.

The Sikh priests denied they had rejected the edict at the behest of Mr Parkash Singh Badal or Bibi Jagir Kaur. They apprehended that the SGPC would again go the “mahants”.

To a question, the Sikh priests said it was for the Sikh masses to seek an explanation from Giani Puran Singh for his acts of “ommission and commission”.

The Sikh High priests announced that Bibi Jagir Kaur, Prof Manjit Singh, Giani Kewal Singh, Giani Bhagwan Singh, Mr Pritam Singh Bhatia and Mr Jaswinder Singh advocate remained part of the Sikh community. “They should not be considered as excommunicated on the basis of so-called hukamnamas” they said.

In the meantime, Giani Puran Singh asked veteran Akali leader Jagdev Singh Talwandi to get the direction on the “hukamnama” to the SAD leadership implemented. However, Mr Talwandi is in no position to do so as he ceased to be the chairman of disciplinary action committee (DAC) after the delegates session. The SAD has yet to announce if Mr Talwandi continues to be the DAC chairman.

Talking to TNS, Giani Puran Singh said Mr Badal and the executive of SGPC was bound to implement the “hukamnama”.

When pointed out that Mr Badal had no legal authority to direct the SGPC to appoint acting President of the SGPC and acting Jathedars Giani Puran Singh said the SGPC “remote control” was with the President of the SAD. He further said it was the SAD President who had distributed ticket for the SGPC poll.

Mr Balbir Singh Pannu, Senior Vice-President, SGPC, said Bibi Jagir Kaur should not preside over the executive committee meeting proposed to be held here on March 16.

Mr Pannu, Mr Hardalbir Singh Shah, General Secretary, SGPC, and some senior members today held a closed-door meeting with Mr Badal at Chandigarh.


Bibi Jagir Kaur to participate in Hola Mohalla
From Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR March 14 — In what may be a defiance of the Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Puran Singh’s edict, the “excommunicated” Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, today asserted that she would participate in the Hola Mohalla celebrations at Anandpur Sahib on March 19.

Talking to The Tribune over her mobile, Bibi Jagir Kaur said it was her cardinal duty to participate in all religious congregations and to ensure the success of any and all of such functions . She said it was her “moral responsibility” since the post of the SGPC was bestowed upon her by none but the “Sikh Sangat”. Bibi Jagir Kaur said not only she but the Jathedar of the Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of the Takht Damdama Sahib Giani Kewal Singh and the Head Granthi of Golden Temple, Bhai Bhagwan Singh would also be participating in the Hola Mohalla celebrations. “Moreover, being the Jathedar of the Takht Kesgarh Sahib the responsibility of organising the Hola Mohalla celebrations is one of his major duties,” she said.

Meanwhile, with a view to divert the attention of the people of the state from the ongoing controversy and the heat generated by the “hukumnama”, some senior Akali leaders were busy thinking on the lines to declare Anandpur Sahib as a full-fledged district on the occasion of Hola Mohalla, highly placed sources said adding that “discussions are on, but nothing has been finalised as yet”. The suggestion in this regard had been put forth by one of the excommunicated jathedars to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Originally, the state government had envisaged to declare Anandpur Sahib as a district on the conclusion of the Khalsa tercentenary celebrations on Baisakhi, he added.


Task force deployed
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, March 14 — The SGPC today deployed its task force around the Golden Temple and Akal Takht, even as Giani Bhagwan Singh performed his routine duties for the third consecutive day.

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