Sunday, May 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Kala Afghana declared ‘tankhaiya’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 10
A Canada-based Sikh scholar, Gurbaksh Singh Kala Afghana, who has authored a set of 10 books, “Bipran Ki Rit Sach Da Marg” has been declared ‘tankhaiya’. He had pointed an accusing finger on Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti for editing a book “Gurbilas Patshahi 6”, which was later banned by the SGPC.

The meeting of the Sikh clergy, held at the Akal Takht secretariat, unanimously resolved that Mr Kala Afghana had indulged in blasphemous activities and contents of his books were against the Sikh tenets. The Sikh high priests said Mr Kala Afghana had failed to turn up to clarify his position, though he was given enough time. The deadline fixed for his appearance at Akal Takht ended today.

Mr Gurtej Singh, a Professor of Sikhism, described the decision of the Sikh clerics as ‘unfortunate’. He said the decision was not as per the Sikh traditions. Mr Gurtej Singh said he had called a meeting of Sikh intellectuals in Chandigarh tomorrow to discuss the matter at length.

Earlier, the Sikh high priests had accepted the plea of Mr Kala Afghana and allowed him to give his explanation through videoconferencing, which was later cancelled. Mr Kala Afghana had pleaded that he could not appear in person at Akal Takht due to ill health and his close links with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale. He had pleaded that the moment he entered India he could be arrested by security agencies. However, the Sikh clergy justified the decision of backing out on the videoconferencing option granted to Mr Kala Afghana saying that they had the right to change such decisions.

In his last letter written to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Mr Kala Afghana had used derogatory language describing him as a ‘liar’ and ‘maha pappi’. Taking serious note of the language used, Jathedar Vedanti said it was unpardonable.

The Sikh high priests said if Mr Kala Afghana failed to appear before Akal Takht by July 10, he would be punished as per the Sikh ‘maryada’. In such a case Mr Kala Afghana could be declared excommunicated from the Panth.

The meeting was attended by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Giani Tarlochan Singh, Jathedars of Akal Takht, Damdama Sahib and Kesgarh Sahib, respectively, Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, and Giani Jagtar Singh, Granthi, Golden Temple.

Asked Mr Kala Afghana had pleaded that he could not appear due to ill health, which had already been accepted by the Sikh clergy, Giani Bhagwan Singh quipped he was misleading the Panth.

In yet another significant development, Akal Takht decided to send a reminder to the state government for banning the activities of controversial godman Ashutosh.

UNI adds: Akal Takht also endorsed the ongoing efforts for unity between Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Talking to reporters, Jathedar Vedanti said he favoured the unity move between the two Akali groups and was of the firm belief that misgivings, confusions and misunderstandings should be sorted out through dialogue.

On the issue of contradiction between the SGPC traditions and his recent visits to different deras, Jathedar Vedanti said he believed that there was no harm in visiting those deras, which had been propagating teachings of the gurus and gurbani.

On the issue of release of Sikh youths detained in different jails, he said he would make efforts after the receipt of the list of such persons.

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