Saturday, June 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

India to invite Nepal King
T. R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 8
India is keen to formally invite King Gyanendra of Nepal at an early date to reaffirm its commitment of strengthening bilateral ties. The endeavour is to remove any misgivings that may have arisen in the wake of the assassination of King Birendra and other members of the Royal family on June 1.

The thinking in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government is to take the lead in inviting King Gyanendra ahead of Pakistan or China. New Delhi believes that considering the geopolitical situation and the delicate security environment in this region, King Gyanendra must undertake his first foreign trip as the new monarch of the Himalayan kingdom to this country.

There are indications here that King Gyanendra is looking towards India as its immediate and large neighbour for providing stability and reducing tension spots in South Asia. It is in this context that an interface between King Gyanendra and and the Indian leaders assumes significance.

Authoritative sources here said that a formal letter from President K. R. Narayanan is expected to be forwarded through diplomatic channels inviting King Gyanendra to pay a visit to India at his convenience. There is a possibility of King Gyanendra’s India tour materialising either next month or in August.

Even though India has urged the media to exercise restraint in reporting the aftermath of the royal bloodbath in Nepal, the BJP-led NDA leadership has not taken kindly to media reports and speculation that King Gyanendra is anti-India.

The new King in Kathmandu has given enough indications so far that he wants to take the traditional relations with India forward and continue with the constitutional monarchy in Nepal. He has enlarged the scope of the inquiry into the palace killings and taken firm action against those pointing an accusing finger at India of hatching a political conspiracy in the Himalayan kingdom.

Simultaneously, the Nepalese Ambassador to India has maintained that there will be no deviation in Indo-Nepal ties even though his country was faced with a gargantuan tragedy. He appealed to all sections not to be misled by rumours.

After the palace killings, India immediately offered any kind of assistance that Nepal might require to tide over the turbulent phase. Political upheavals in Nepal have affected India adversely. With anti-Indian external forces having gained considerable ground in Nepal, Indian diplomacy faces a challenge in the sensitive neighbourhood. On its part, India wants to assure Nepal that it can count on New Delhi’s goodwill. Back


Talwandi unhappy with ‘tankhah’
Says publishers should have been excommunicated
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 8
The SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, and Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, seem to have come into direct confrontation over the mild “tankhah” (religious punishment) awarded to owners of Messrs Jeewan Singh Chattar Singh, publishers of Guru Granth Sahib.

This is for the first time that any SGPC chief has commented on a “hukamnama” issued from Akal Takht.

Mr Talwandi told mediapersons that in accordance with the sentiments of Sikhs, the owners of the publishing house should have been excommunicated from the Sikh Panth.

It may be mentioned here that Messrs Jeewan Singh Chattar Singh, who were declared guilty of religious misconduct for violating a “hukamnama” in May 1998, issued by the then Jathedar, Bhai Ranjit Singh, were allowed to perform “tankhah” of dusting the shoes of Sikh sangat and cleaning utensils for 10 days on May 15.

On completion of the “tankhah” they (the publishers) were directed to deposit Rs 1100 in the ‘golak’ of the Golden Temple and Rs 2100 in that of Akal Takht. After 10 days of the “tankhah”, the publishers were allowed to re-join the Panth. Bhai Ranjit Singh was the first to condemn the ‘mild tankhah’ awarded to the publishers.

He argued that since the guilty had violated the edict several times, they be declared “tankhaiya”. Bhai Ranjit Singh alleged that the publishers had offered him Rs 25 lakh as bribe through a mediator.

Now the dissatisfaction over the “hukamnama” expressed by Mr Talwandi will complicate the issue. It may be mentioned here that the SGPC is the appointing authority of Sikh clergy.

On Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar Takht Damdama Sahib who has been directed by a Talwandi Sabo court to appear on June 11 in connection with the death of his daughter-in-law, Jathedar Talwandi said he did not want to comment since the matter was subjudice. He, however, said it was the prerogative of Akal Takht to speak on such issues and he did not want to intervene.

Mr Talwandi also conveyed his ‘displeasure’ over the direction of the Jathedar, Akal Takht, to him to constitute a committee within 15 days for resolving the controversy over the death of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Admitting that he had received directions in this regard, he was non-committal on forming such a committee. He said he himself would decide whether there was a need for the same.

On the ‘disappearance’ of three ‘persons’ who accompanied two Akali ministers, Mr Sohan Singh Thandal and Mr Sujan Singh, and an SGPC member, Mr Tarlochan Singh Dupalpur, after Baisakhi celebrations in Canada, Mr Talwandi said the matter needed a thorough probe.

Without naming Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, SGPC Secretary, who had given a letter to Mr Dupalpur for visiting Canada, Mr Talwandi said many persons had ‘disappeared’ after landing on foreign land ‘under the garb of religion’.

To yet another question, Mr Talwandi said he had urged Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, to ensure that the general elections to the SGPC were hold in time. These are due next year.

Mr Talwandi said he would visit Pakistan on an invitation of the Government of Pakistan and not that of the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Mr Talwandi said he had urged Mr Badal to take up the ‘Sikh agenda’ with Gen Parvez Musharraf, military ruler of Pakistan, during his proposed visit to India next month.

He felt offended over the statement of Jathedar Vedanti delivered from the rostrum of Akal Takht on June 6 to make Operation Bluestar, stating that there was a need to introduce changes in gurdwara management and “true Sikhs” be given prominence.

Mr Talwandi said the Jathedar should have specified the persons. It is pertinent to mention here that Jathedar Vedanti had criticised the distribution of liquor and money during the SGPC elections to woo voters.

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