Tuesday, October 23, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Vedanti gunning for Badal?
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 22
Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, has given a clear indication that the role of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, in presenting a ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) to a Canada-based excommunicated Sikh by the SGPC chief could be probed.

This is for the first time that Jathedar Vedanti who was dubbed as “sarkari jathedar” by rival Akali factions has uttered any word with regard to the Chief Minister. He said some Akali ministers and MLAs who had visited six gurdwaras of Vancouver where ‘langar’ (community kitchen) is served on tables and chairs in gross violation of the ‘hukmnama’ could be summoned at Akal Takht any time. He said facts in this regard were being collected by the Akal Takht secretariat. To a question, Jathedar Vedanti said Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, SGPC chief, could also be summoned at Akal Takht if found ‘guilty’ for presenting a ‘siropa’ to excommunicated Kashmir Singh who visited the Golden Temple along with Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, the then Premier, British Columbia, taking serious exception to the bestowing of a ‘siropa’ on Mr Dosanj (who is clean shaven). Jathedar Vedanti said that henceforth such honour should not be bestowed on ‘patits’ (apostate Sikhs).

Jathedar Vedanti said that the ‘edict’ issued by Bhai Ranjit Singh to partake ‘langar’ while sitting on floor would be relevant for ever as it was issued as per Sikh maryada.

The assertions of Jathedar Vedanti assume significance as crucial meeting of the SGPC executive is being held at gurdwara Alamgir in Ludhiana.

With this, Jathedar Talwandi and Jathedar Vedanti have come on confrontational path. Mr Talwandi could be on the offensive at tomorrow’s meeting.

Jathedar Vedanti said that many directives of Akal Takht were yet to be implemented by the SGPC which was a matter of great concern. He said reminders had been issued to the SGPC in this regard.

He said if the SGPC did not implement the ‘directives’ of Akal Takht it definitely sent wrong signals among the Sikh masses regarding supremacy of Takht.

The directives which could not be implemented by the SGPC include non-formation of sub-committees on the controversial issue whether Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale is dead or alive? The SGPC has failed to constitute sub-committee on the controversy of Dasam Granth so far. Apart from this, the SGPC has not revived the ‘Sikh itihas board’ despite reminders issued by Akal Takht, though immediately after his installation as Jathedar, he had directed the SGPC to frame bylaws for appointment and removal of Sikh high priests and defining their service rules, yet nothing of this sort could be taken so far.

Meanwhile, Jathedar Vedanti said that Sikh high priests could initiate action against Mr Dosanjh, a former Premier of British Columbia, as he knew that an excommunicated Sikh, Mr Kashmir Singh, had accompanied him. He said Mr Dosanjh was accused of misguiding the Sikh sangat by bringing excommunicated Sikhs with him. The stage secretary who had announced the name of Kashmir Singh would also be summoned at Akal Takht, he said.

Jathedar Vedanti said Mr Talwandi had issued some controversial statements against the directives of Akal Takht which he withdrew later.

Jathedar Vedanti asked Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht, and Mr G.S. Tohra not to adopt ‘double standards’ on Panthic issues. He said while Bhai Ranjit Singh claimed that he was ‘real jathedar’ of the takht, he led the ‘chetna march’ organised by the Panthic Morcha which had presented a memorandum to the Governor, Punjab, who is incidentally a ‘non-Sikh’. He alleged that the leadership of the Panthic Morcha tried to take ‘political mileage’ from the issue of Guru Granth Sahib. Similarly, Mr Tohra who did not consider him (Jathedar Vedanti) as Jathedar, simultaneously commented on the edicts issued by him.

Meanwhile, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi claimed that he did not remember whether a ‘siropa’ was presented to Kashmir Singh — an excommunicated Sikh during the visit of Mr Dosanjh. He said it was the duty of officials to inform him that ‘excommunicated’ Sikh had come to the Golden Temple. He said he had presented ‘siropas’ as directed by Mr Badal.

On the other hand, Mr Devinder Singh Babbu, President of the Punjab Youth Congress, has sent a fax message to Jathedar Vedanti wherein he had desired to appear before the takht for having direct links with Baba Bhaniara.

Meanwhile, Jathedar Vedanti has issued a show-cause notice to Ajaib Singh Bedil for promoting and praising Baba Bhaniara. Mr Prithipal Singh, personal assistant to Jathedar Vedanti, said that notices were being issued to Mr Buta Singh, Congress leaders and other Sikhs who had established links with Baba Bhaniara in violation of the edict.

In a significant statement, Jathedar Vedanti said that he was questioned by the Sikh masses wherever he went during his religious tour to foreign country as to why no action was taken against Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Kewal Singh — both Sikh high priests. He, however, said that he had to defend them as they were not proved guilty by any inquiry committee. He said if the SGPC had constituted an inquiry committee against the high priests it should have submitted its report.

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