Thursday, March 16, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Talwandi, Akal Takht chief hold talks
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, March 15 — Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, veteran Akali leader and Chairman of Disciplinary Action Committee of the party, today held a two-hour closed-door meeting with Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar of Akal Takht, at the residence of the Akal Takht Jathedar. Baba Kashmira Singh and Baba Mangal Singh, President and Acting President of the Gurbani Gurmat Sidhant Sant Samaj, were also present at the meeting.

Giani Puran Singh directed Mr Talwandi to get the “hukamnama” implemented in toto in the larger interest of the Sikh community. He had also directed Mr Parkash Singh Badal to appoint acting SGPC chief, acting Jathedars of Kesgarh Sahib and Damdama Sahib and acting Head Granthi of Akal Takht in place of Bibi Jagir Kaur, Prof Manjit Singh, Giani Kewal Singh and Giani Bhagwan Singh who were “excommunicated” from the Sikh Panth.

Meanwhile, Bibi Jagir Kaur has postponed the crucial executive meeting of the SGPC indefinitely.

Giani Puran Singh had directed Mr Badal not to allow Bibi Jagir Kaur to attend any political, religious and social gathering till she “re-joined” the Sikh Panth.

Giani Puran Singh refused to divulge the details of his meeting with Mr Talwandi. However, sources said the Akal Takht Jathedar had made it clear that the “hukamnama” issued by him could not be withdrawn. He had also told Mr Talwandi to ensure that no “propaganda is launched against him”. He had reportedly taken a serious view of a pamphlet published by some organisations wherein his (Giani Puran Singh’s) links were established with the RSS.

The statement of Bibi Jagir Kaur that she would participate in the Hola Mohalla celebrations was also discussed in the meeting.

Mr Talwandi has, however, assured Giani Puran Singh that his directives will be implemented meticulously. However, Mr Talwandi urged Giani Puran Singh not to take any drastic step as the panthic crisis had already deepened. Mr Talwandi told the Akal Takht Jathedar that Mr Badal had accepted the directives issued to him for implementing the “hukamnama”.

The executive meeting which was scheduled to be held here on March 16 was also postponed at the behest of Mr Badal so that the ongoing crisis could be resolved. Directions could also be given to Bibi Jagir Kaur not to participate in Hola Mohalla celebrations as it could complicate the situation further. According to sources Mr Badal did not want the Hola Mohalla celebrations to be spoiled in any way.

According to a press note issued by the SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur has postponed all meetings including meetings of Executive Management Committee scheduled for March 16 and Dharm Parchar Committee proposed for March 17 indefinitely due to Hola Mohalla celebrations. Giani Puran Singh and his supporters are of the view that if the meetings had not been postponed the SGPC executive could have suspended Giani Puran Singh.

Mr Balbir Singh Naushehra Pannu, senior vice-president of the SGPC, who held a meeting with Mr Badal yesterday, while talking to TNS said Bibi Jagir Kaur should not take any step to worsen the ongoing crisis.


Giani Puran Singh’s removal sought
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, March 15 — Representatives of various Sikh organisations, including the Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Damdami Taksal, Akal Federation and the Khalsa Action Committee today sought the removal of Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar, Akal Takht. In all five resolutions were passed in a seminar organised by the Akal Federation in Maharaja Ranjit Singh Hall here today.

The first resolution described the hukamnama issued from Guna (Madhya Pradesh) wherein Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief was excommunicated from the Sikh Panth and other directives issued by Giani Puran Singh as gross violation of “maryada”. The resolution alleged that Giani Puran Singh was hand in glove with the RSS. The second resolution condemned the decisions of the SGPC for appointing “incapable persons” high priests due to vested interest and under pressure from the government. The resolution rejected the procedure adopted by the SGPC to make such appointments.

Another resolution opposed the calling of Sarbat Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib. Though the resolution did not mention the name of Bhai Ranjit Singh, former jathedar Akal Takht yet it is clear that it was in direct reference to the one convened by him at Anandpur Sahib on the occasion of Baisakhi. The seminar suggested to form a sub-committee to revive the institution of Sarbat Khalsa. It stated that any meeting or conference convened by a section of the Panth could not be described as Sarbat Khalsa.

In yet another significant resolution, the seminar asked all the controversial Sikh high priests to quit their respective posts in the larger interest of the Sikh Panth. The last resolution condemned the activities of the RSS and called upon the Sikh masses to counter such moves.

The signatories to the resolution are Mr Gurtej Singh, a former IAS officer and professor of Sikhism, General Narinder Singh (retd), Bhai Mohkam Singh, spokesman for the Damdami Taksal, Harsimran Singh, a former chief of the Dal Khalsa, Mr Satnam Singh, General Secretary, Dal Khalsa, Bibi Parmjit Kaur Khalra, Khalra Action Committee, Mr Surinder Singh Ghariala, Mr Kanwer Singh Dhami, Vice-President, Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Narain Singh, President, Akal Federation, Mr Kanwer Paul Singh, Dal Khalsa, Mr Dalbir Singh, journalist, Mr Pritam Singh and Mr Amrik Singh, Muktsar.Meanwhile, activists of various Sikh organisations today took out “Chetna March”. The march culminated at Akal Takht. The activists were carrying placards which described the Hukamnamas issued by Giani Puran Singh as ‘anti-Panthic’. They also submitted a memorandum to Mr Gurbachan Singh, Secretary, SGPC, for forwarding it to all members of the Shiromani committee.

PATIALA (TNS): The Sikh Intelligentsia Forum of Punjabi University has urged Akal Takth Jathedar Giani Puran Singh to rise above personal considerations to resolve the current imbroglio in the Panth . In a press note issued here, the Forum President, Dr D.S. Dhillon, said a meeting of the forum expressed concern at the arbitrary way in which Akal Takth Jathedar was taking decisions on behalf of the Panth. He said the members of the Forum appealed to the Jathedar to maintain the maryada of Akal Takth.The Forum President also disclosed that a deputation of Sikh scholars would also meet the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, to make an effort to ensure such controversies were avoided in future.

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