Tribune News Service
Amritsar, April 17
The Akal Takht today pronounced ‘tankhah’ (religious punishment) on 39 Sikh leaders belonging to SAD, Congress and AAP.
They had sought political support from the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda just prior to 2017 Assembly elections.
However, former SAD MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali from the Dakha Assembly seat was let off after he submitted a clarification before the five High Priests that he was neither part of the Dera congregation nor did he seek its support in any way. After finding no proof against him, he was absolved of all charges.
Four leaders — former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal (Congress), Janmeja Singh Sekhon (SAD), Ajaib Singh Bhatti (Congress) and Arjan Badal (Congress) — did not turn up, having submitted reasons for their inability to appear.
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said, “Those who couldn’t come would be called again when the next meeting of the five High Priests is scheduled.”
Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Gurmukh Singh boycotted the meeting. He had contested a closed-door meeting and insisted on holding it at Akal Takht.
The ones who decided on the sentence were Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, Takht Patna Sahib Jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh, Takht Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar Giani Mal Singh, additional Head Granthi of Golden Temple Jagtar Singh and Granthi of Golden Temple Raghbir Singh.
As per the directions of the Akal Takht, a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee panel had held 44 leaders guilty of violating the Akal Takht’s 2007 hukumnama. The guilty leaders were classified into two categories — Gursikhs and Patits (those who believe in Guru Granth Sahib but seldom observe the Khalsa code of conduct). The 18 Patit leaders were told to perform sewa for 10 days (one hour each day) at the gurdwaras located near their constituencies for atonement. They include 10 Congress leaders — Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Kushaldeep Singh, Kewal Singh, Karan Kaur, Darshan Singh, Randeep Singh Nabha, Rajinder Singh Samana, Kukhbaaz Singh Jattana and Daman Kaur.
From the SAD are Surinder Pal Singh, Gulzar Singh, Hardeep Singh, Nishan Singh Budhlada, Darshan Singh Kot Phatta, Dilraj Singh Bhundal and Jagdeep Singh. AAP leader Narinder Singh also falls in this category.
The 21 Gursikh leaders include 20 from SAD — Darbara Singh Guru, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Sikandar Singh Maluka, Surjit Singh Rakhra, Jeetmohinder Singh Sidhu, Ajit Singh Shant, Varinder Kaur, Inderiqbal Singh Atwal, Mantar Singh Brar, Parkash Singh Bhatti, Gurpreet Singh Raju, Parmbans Singh, Kanwaljit Singh Rozibarkandi, Harpreet Singh Kotbhai, Iqbal Singh Jhunda, Ishar Singh Meharbaan, Gobind Singh Longowal, Ranjit Singh Talwandi, Hari Singh Nabha and Didar Singh Bhatti. Congress’ Ajitinder Singh Mofar also falls in this category.
These leaders were made to stand at the designated podium on the ground floor of Akal Takht and were awarded ‘tankhah’. They were told to sweep the passage leading to the Golden Temple from Gurdwara Saragarhi heading towards Darshani Deodi and the Ghanta Ghar side entrance to the shrine for a day. On another day, they would clean up the whole parikrama of the Temple.
After completing this sewa, each will offer Rs 5,100 to the ‘golak’ and Rs 501 for ‘karah parshad’ at the time of ‘ardas’ to be performed at the Akal Takht.
The controversy arose after some candidates from the Malwa region had attended a meeting of Dera Sacha Sauda’s political wing in Bathinda. It was reported that the leaders had assured to facilitate the religious congregation of the Dera head in Punjab if voted to power. Later, Dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had extended support to the SAD-BJP alliance.
On May 17, 2007, the then High Priests had issued ‘hukumnama’ to boycott the Dera head for impersonating the 10th Guru.
Two types of ‘sewa’
- 18 Patit leaders will perform sewa for 10 days (one hour each day) at gurdwaras located near constituencies
- 21 Gursikh leaders have to sweep passage leading to Golden Temple from Gurdwara Saragarhi heading to Darshani Deodi and Ghanta Ghar side entrance to shrine for a day. On another day, they would clean up whole parikrama of Golden Temple
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