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Posted at: Nov 10, 2015, 9:52 PM; last updated: Nov 10, 2015, 9:52 PM (IST)

At Sarbat Khalsa, hardliners appoint Hawara Akal Takht Jathedar

Lt Gen KS Brar, KPS Gill declared ‘tankhaiya’; Makkar rejects resolutions

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Chabba (Amritsar), November 10

More than 1 lakh people today congregated for the Sarbat Khalsa and gave their mandate against the Takht heads for allegedly functioning under the influence of the SAD (Badal) government.

After SGPC’s refusal to permit Manji Sahib gurdwara located in the Golden Temple complex, Sarbat Khalsa was held at Chabba village on the Amritsar-Tarn Taran road in which several resolutions were passed after getting public nod.

The Sikh hardliners appointed Jagtar Singh Hawara, a convict in the former Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassination case, the new officiating Akal Takht jathedar, replacing Gurbachan Singh. Amrik Singh Ajnala and Baljit Singh Daduwal were appointed heads of Takht Keshgarh Sahib and Takht Damdama Sahib, respectively.

Former Member of Parliament Dhian Singh Mand will officiate in absentia for Hawara, who is undergoing life imprisonment at Burail Jail, Chandigarh.

They also stripped Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of the “Panth Rattan — Fakhr-e-qaum” bestowed on him in 2011 and nullified the “Shiromani Sewak” title given to SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar.

A resolution was passed declaring Lieutenant General KS Brar (retd), Operation Bluestar commander, and former Director General of Police KPS Gill “tankhaiya” (guilty of religious conduct) and directed them to appear before Akal Takht on November 30.

The SAD (Amritsar) and United Akali Dal had given a call for Sarbat Khalsa following a flip-flop by the five Takht heads, including the Akal Takht Jathedar, on pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.

The five Takht heads — Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh; Takht Keshgarh Sahib jathedar Mal Singh, Takht Damdama Sahib acting jathedar Gurmukh Singh, Takht Patna Sahib jathedar Iqbal Singh and Takht Hazoor Sahib in Nanded (Maharashtra) ‘granthi’ (priest) Ram Singh — had issued ‘Gurmata’ while pardoning the dera chief for an alleged blasphemous act in 2007.

As Takht Hazoor Sahib jathedar did not appear in person during the controversial decision, the Sarbat Khalsa was organised primarily against the remaining four Takht heads. Takht Patna Sahib jathedar also enjoyed immunity since he did not come under the SGPC’s jurisdiction as Takht has its separate board.

They said the three Takht heads would replace the officiating ones and hold the positions till April 13, 2016, when fresh deliberations would be made at another Sarbat Khalsa.

The framework for the future appointment and removal of jathedars, their tenure, emoluments and duties would be chalked out later.

This plan will further be put forth during the Sarbat Khalsa scheduled in 2016.

SGPC president Makkar, however, said the so-called Sarbat Khalsa held no sanctity since it was against the principles and tenets of the religion. “All resolutions announced today stand null and void principally. The appointment, removal, duties and tenure of jathedars have been well-defined in the Gurudwara Act 1925 and the SGPC has been given full rights to operate the framework in this direction. The SGPC is a representative body of Sikh community from all over the country and its validity cannot be challenged,” he said.

Amid opposition over the nomenclature of the congregation, its venue or principles, several prominent organisations refrained from participating, which included Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) and a major section of the Sant Samaj.

Meanwhile, representatives of radical Sikh organisations such as Kanwar Pal Singh Bittu from Dal Khalsa and HS Cheema from Panch Pradhani, participated as “sangat” only, though they were welcomed from the dais after they were spotted by the organiser.

Those present included SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann, general secretary Jarnail Singh Sakira, United Akali Dal chief Mohkam Singh, Sikh Sangharsh Committee’s Gurdeep Singh Bhatinda, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Avtar Singh Karimpuri, Congress’ MLA who submitted resignation Ramanjit Singh Sikki, Damdami Taksal Sangrawan’s chief Baba Ram Singh and Haryana SGPC’s chief Jagdish Singh Chhinda.

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