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Posted at: Dec 19, 2014, 12:56 AM; last updated: Dec 19, 2014, 12:47 AM (IST)

Calendar row: Nandgarh stands firm, SAD draws flak

Perneet Singh

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18

Sikh organisations and intellectuals have hit out against the Akali Dal over the issue of reverting to Bikrami Calendar. They said it would be a jolt to the community's fight for a separate identity. Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh also stood firm on his stand of supporting the original Nanakshahi Calendar.

Talking to The Tribune, Jathedar Nandgarh said, “I reiterate my support for the original Nanakshahi Calendar as it symbolises the independent identity of the Sikh community. I will not hesitate from voicing my support for it even if a meeting of the Sikh high priests is called on the issue.” He, however, declined comment over the issue of the state government withdrawing his security cover.

Sikh organisations and intellectuals have flayed the Akali Dal for “the manner in which it wants to throw out” Jathedar Nandgarh for his stand on the calendar row.

Former Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission Chairman KS Patti said, “The original Nanakshahi Calendar should be implemented as it was created with a lot of brainstorming and expertise. When every community has its own calendar, why Sikhs should not have one?”

Dal Khalsa chief HS Dhami said, “Sikhs have been striving to get recognition to their separate identity since long and reverting to Bikrami Calendar will be a setback to their struggle.”

He said the original Nanakshahi Calendar was the manifestation of distinct and separate identity of the Sikhs. He alleged the Nanaksar sect was pressuring the Akali leadership to revert to Bikrami Calendar. “Sikhs will not sit back quietly if their own premier institutions take any unprincipled stance that dilutes their unique identity,” he said.

Former SGPC secretary Manjeet Singh Calcutta said, “Most of the Jathedars are mere stooges of the Akali Dal, but Jathedar Nandgarh is the one who, at times, voices his righteous opinion without any fear.”

Meanwhile, sources in the Akal Takht secretariat clarified that no meeting of the Sikh clergy was scheduled to be held on December 20, as reported in a section of the media.

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