Clerics take middle path
Amritsar, May 29
The carefully worded one-page “Gurmata”, signed by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Giani Iqbal Singh, Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Giani Tarlochan Singh, all Jathedars of Akal Takht, Patna Sahib, Damdama Sahib and Kesgarh Sahib, respectively, and Giani Partap Singh, Head Granthi, Takht Hazoor Sahib, tried to assuage the feeling of the Sikhs in general and the hardliners in particular by using harsh words against dera chief Gurmit Ram Raheem Singh. It described the dera chief as “mischievous” and pronounced that the call to boycott the dera announced from Takht Damdama Sahib on May 17 would continue.
The clergy asked the Sikhs, who had become followers of the dera, to approach nearby gurdwaras for seeking unqualified apology and join the mainstream of the Sikh Panth. It also emphasised the need to intensify “Gurmat Parchar” to check the activities of the dera.
The “Gurmata” read that the dera chief, who indulged in blasphemous acts by attiring like Guru Gobind Singh, had sent an apology to Akal Takht through selfish dera men which clearly showed that he wanted to deceive the Sikh Panth with his “clever moves.”
Using harsh language against the dera chief, the “Gurmata” said he had sent the deceitful apology to the Akal Takht in the wake of the protests by the Sikh Panth. However, the Guru to whom the apology was addressed was empowered to pardon but such acts are unacceptable (to Guru) if not made with pure intent.
The working president of the SAD, Sukhbir Badal, acted like a catalyst to defuse the crisis. He held a meeting with Jathedar Vedanti at the official residence of the SGPC chief in Ajit Nagar so that draft could be prepared in such a way as would be acceptable to the Sikh Panth and the dera as well.
Later, Swami Agnivesh, who brought the letter of apology from the dera, also held a separate meeting with Sukhbir Badal.
Swami Agnivesh and other religious leaders also met the Sikh clergy and urged them to accept the apology tendered by the dera.
Earlier, the clergy held a meeting with hardliners, including Bhai Mokham Singh, a former militant, Kanwarpal Singh, a spokesman for the Dal Khalsa, and Narain Singh, convener of the Akal Federation.
The high priests also directed the SGPC to engage senior lawyers to pursue cases pending against the dera chief. They also resolved to continue their efforts to finish the cult of the dera for indulging in “anti-Sikh” activities.
However, the protest march from Fatehgarh Sahib to Chandigarh on May 31 for submitting memoranda to the Governors of Punjab and Haryana would remain unchanged as pronounced from Akal Takht on May 20.