Sunday, December 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Giani Puran Singh is Head Granthi
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Dec 9 — Giani Puran Singh, who was sacked as Jathedar of Akal Takht on March 28 by pro-Bibi Jagir Kaur executive members, has been appointed Head Granthi of the Golden Temple with immediate effect. He will replace Giani Mohan Singh who retired yesterday.

The orders in this regard were issued by Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary, SGPC, on behalf of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President of the SGPC, subject to the approval of the executive committee which will meet at Teja Singh Samunderi Hall here on December 12 and 13.

Giani Puran Singh was removed unceremoniously as he had excommunicated Bibi Jagir Kaur, the then SGPC chief, from the Sikh Panth on January 25 by issuing a controversial hukamnama (edict) from Guna in Madhya Pradesh. After being sacked Giani Puran Singh was placed under suspension as Granthi of the Golden Temple without assigning any reason. During his suspension, he was asked to join Gurdwara Tutti Gandhi at Muktsar in the same capacity. He, however, did not join claiming that the priest of the Golden Temple could not be transferred to any other gurdwara. He said the priest of the Golden Temple was installed while such ceremony was not performed for the granthis of other gurdwaras.

It came as a good news for Giani Puran Singh and his supporters, including Mr Balbir Singh Pannu, Senior Vice-President, SGPC, who did not participate in the meeting which took the decision to sack Giani Puran Singh.

The appointment of Giani Puran Singh is being considered as an elevation as the Head Granthi of the Golden Temple is senior to even Akal Takht Jathedar. Giani Mohan Singh who retired as the Head Granthi declined to be Jathedar of Akal Takht, saying that the Head Granthi of the Golden Temple was senior to the Jathedar of Akal Takht.

It may be mentioned that Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti was appointed Jathedar, Akal Takht, in place of Giani Puran Singh by the SGPC executive on March 28. Interestingly, now Jathedar Vedanti who is also Granthi of the Golden Temple will be reporting to Giani Puran Singh. The Head Granthi (Golden Temple) is also one of the five high priests who decide affairs related to Sikhs.

With the appointment of Giani Puran Singh, the chances of Giani Mohan Singh getting an extension in the forthcoming executive meeting have become bleak. Giani Mohan Singh is a close relative of Jathedar Talwandi.

It is pertinent to mention that Giani Puran Singh was removed by Bibi Jagir Kaur as he had banned the implementation of the Nanakshahi calendar even though it was passed by the general house of the SGPC. Giani Vedanti had endorsed the stand of Giani Puran Singh by issuing a directive for following the traditional Bikrami calendar for celebrating a gurpurb.

The appointment of Giani Puran Singh was necessitated due to a shortage of granthis in the Golden Temple after the retirement of Giani Mohan Singh. Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, will also retire by the end of this month. After becoming Jathedar, Giani Vedanti cannot spare much time for performing his duties as Granthi of the Golden Temple. Another Granthi, Bhai Ram Singh, who was transferred to Jind on the issue of “maryada” (Sikh tradition), also has not joined. 

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