Missing ‘saroops’: Satkar panel members corner SGPC over poor management

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 28

After being shunted out from the Golden Temple complex, activists of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committee and other Sikh organisations observed a sit-in at the Heritage Street leading to the shrine here on Wednesday.

Infuriated over the missing ‘saroops’, they said why the missing of the ‘saroops’ was not made public. They cornered the SGPC over its failed administration that led to misappropriation of the funds charged for issuing ‘saroops’ and feared that it was a deliberate attempt to conceal the facts which led to SGPC’s U-turn on taking criminal proceedings against 16 officials and staff members who were indicted by the Akal Takht-constituted probe panel.

A Telangana High Court lawyer, who headed the probe panel, has prepared a 1000-page investigation report. The circumstances were thoroughly examined and the officials concerned and employees were questioned, but the moot question is where and on whose instance the ‘saroops’ were issued.

The SGPC also faced opposition as uncertainty prevailed in the number of ‘saroops’ that were damaged in an accidental fire on May 2016 at its publication branch in Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib.

Balbir Singh Muchchal, head of the Satkar committee, said they joined members of the United Akali Dal to stage a symbolic protest to sensitise to the sangat (devotees) about the SGPC’s failure to disclose the number of missing ‘saroops’.

“The SGPC was successful in thwarting our ‘insaaf’ morcha (protest) that was staged on October 14 but on October 24, the SGPC taskforce indulged in a clash with us after which cross-FIRs were registered. We have demanded the police that the footage of CCTV cameras that were set up near Teja Singh Samundri Hall must be taken into possession,” he said.

United Akali Dal’s Mohkam Singh said they wanted to know the truth about the ‘saroops’. He said during the May 2016 fire incident, the SGPC had declared that only 14 ‘saroops’ were damaged. Later, an official note surfaced which claimed that about 80 ‘saroops’ that were damaged then. “When the issue of misappropriation of funds charged for issuing ‘saroops’ surfaced, the SGPC claimed the figure to be 267, but later the Akal Takht investigation revealed it to be 328. No one knows about the number of ‘saroops’ issued and the funds charged for issuing them embezzled under the nose of SGPC,” he said.

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