Tuesday, March 20, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Offer to excommunicated Sikhs
Swear by Sikhism & rejoin Panth, says Vedanti
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 19
Many ‘excommunicated’ persons may rejoin the Sikh fold soon as Akal Takht has given an assurance that their cases would be considered sympathetically if they gave in writing that they have full faith in Sikhism, the 10 Gurus and Guru Granth Sahib.

This call may be utilised by the Nirankaris who were excommunicated from the Panth after the Sikh-Nirankari clash on April 13, 1978, when 13 Sikhs were killed.

Talking to TNS, Jathedar Vedanti said that anybody who had faith in Sikhism, could rejoin the Sikh Panth. He said even those sects which stood alienated could be part and parcel of Sikhism if they gave a written assurance that they did not worship any living Guru.

This call may not apply to those sects which were ‘excommunicated’ from the Panth during the time of the Gurus.

With this, an era of confrontation may be over as many Nirankaris were killed by militants after the Sikh-Nirankari clash. Though the Nirankaris had tried to rejoin the Sikh fold during the time of Bhai Ranjit Singh, their pleas were not accepted by him as he himself underwent a jail term for 14 years for assassinating Baba Gurbachan Singh, chief of the sect.

Meanwhile, the Sikh high priests have mounted pressure on the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to take action against Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi of the Golden Temple who did not attend the meetings of Akal Takht. The priests have already sought an explanation from Giani Puran Singh, asking him reasons for his absence from the meetings. They will reportedly chalk out a strategy to ‘humble’ Giani Puran Singh at the meeting to be held in Anandpur Sahib on March 22.

Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, SGPC chief, and Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, had said that the issue of ‘maryada’ would be discussed at the joint meeting of SGPC executive and high priests.

Giani Puran Singh finds himself in a dilemma as he had refused to sit with Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedars of Kesgarh Sahib and Damdama Sahib, respectively, and Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, who were excommunicated from the Sikh Panth in his capacity as Jathedar, Akal Takht.

Since his election as SGPC chief on November 30, 2000, Mr Talwandi had been embroiled in controversies.

His first order to appoint the suspended priest as Head Granthi of the Golden Temple had invited a number of problems for him. Though Mr Talwandi admitted in the beginning that he had passed a ‘wrong order’ without the approval of executive, Mr Balbir Singh Pannu, the then senior vice-president of the SGPC who was killed in a road accident recently would force Mr Talwandi for maintaining status quo.

However, after the death of Mr Pannu, Giani Puran Singh has found himself ‘alienated ‘as a majority of the high priests have sought stern action against Giani Puran Singh.

The Akhand Kirtani Jatha (Parbandhaki Panchayan), headed by Jathedar Joginder Singh Talwara has also urged Mr Talwandi to ‘correct’ his decision under which Giani Puran Singh was appointed as Head Granthi by superceding Giani Charn Singh who had gone on long leave under protest.

However, Giani Puran Singh has no lobby to force Mr Talwandi to complete the inquiry against Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Kewal Singh which was constituted in 1999.

On other hand, it is not clear whether Giani Puran Singh would attend the joint meeting of the SGPC executive and high priests on March 22.


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