Saturday, March 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Bibi’s surprise visit to Anandpur Sahib
From Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

ANANDPUR SAHIB, March 17 — Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the SGPC, paid a surprise visit to this town this afternoon. It was her second visit after her excommunication from the Panth on January 25.

She met Bhai Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, at his official residence. The Bibi visited the town earlier on March 9 when she reportedly discussed the ongoing crisis in the Panth with Bhai Manjit Singh.

Bibi Jagir Kaur paid obeisance at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib. Mr Karam Singh, manager of the Takht, and Jathedar Pritam Singh Sallomajra, district president of the SAD, accompanied her.

Bibi Jagir Kaur declined to answer queries of mediapersons. She said she had come here to review the arrangements being made by the local SGPC staff for the annual Hola Mohalla.

She held a meeting with the local SGPC staff for about 10 minutes regarding the celebrations.Back


Mediators persuading Bibi
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, March 17 — Even as hectic efforts are afoot to find an amicable solution to the ongoing Panthic crisis, Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Priest, Akal Takht, who was excommunicated from the Panth today announced that he was ready to accept the “hukamnama” if Giani Puran Singh dared to proclaim at Akal Takht that it was issued in accordance with the Sikh “maryada”.

Giani Bhagwan Singh who has been attending to his routine duties even after his excommunication on March 12, claimed that an edict by Giani Puran Singh could not be “valid” as the latter had been awarded a penalty of Rs 100 for claiming salary although he had not recited “path” as granthi on that particular day at the Tarn Taran gurdwara. This penalty (awarded by resolution no 837 dated October 10, 1981) was later remitted by the executive committee of the SGPC on August 6, 1988.

“Any person who has been awarded penalty cannot become Jathedar. His very appointment by the SGPC as Jathedar is wrong and, hence, any hukamnama issued by him cannot be valid”, he said.

Meanwhile, certain well-meaning mediators have been making efforts to persuade Bibi Jagir Kaur to appear before Akal Takht. They have urged Giani Puran Singh to give her a fresh date for appearing before the Takht so that the present crisis can be resolved before Hola Mohalla.

Giani Puran Singh has not received any formal invitation from Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Sri Kesgarh Sahib, for leading the Hola Mohalla procession on March 20 at Anandpur Sahib. Since Prof Manjit Singh stands excommunicated from the Panth, such a formal letter is not expected.

However, Baba Mangal Singh, acting President, Gurbani Gurmat Sant Samaj, a confidant of the Akal Takht Jathedar, said Giani Puran Singh had not yet decided whether or not he would lead the Hola Mohalla celebrations.

He, however, clarified that the Jathedar had made it clear if Bibi Jagir Kaur or any of the excommunicated Jathedars were present at the time of the celebrations, he would boycott the same. He admitted that emissaries of Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Parkash Singh Badal had met Giani Puran Singh to resolve the crisis.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister and President, SAD, is likely to have a closed-door meeting with the SGPC members during his proposed visit to Amritsar tomorrow.

The ruling SAD is in a fix over the appointment of acting President of the SGPC. This matter has become ticklish as a section of the SAD and the SGPC is not in favour of appointing Mr Balbir Singh Pannu, Senior Vice-President, SGPC, to the position as it would make Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Cooperation Minister, stronger in the Majha region. Mr Pannu is a Brahmpura loyalist. Mr Surinder Singh Kairon and his son, Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, son-in-law of Mr Badal, are archrivals of Mr Brahmpura.

Bibi Jagir Kaur may be willing to appoint Mr Kewal Singh Badal, Vice-President, or Mr Raghujit Singh Virk, executive member, in her place for the time-being. However, sources say the final decision is in the hands of Mr Badal. Meanwhile, the SGPC executive meeting which was proposed to be held on March 23 here, may be held by March 25.Back

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