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Posted at: Oct 28, 2015, 1:53 AM; last updated: Oct 28, 2015, 1:53 AM (IST)

SGPC’s no to ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ at Golden Temple complex

Hardliners adamant, say will hold congregation in Amritsar on Nov 10
SGPC’s no to ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ at Golden Temple complex
Sikh leader Bhai Mohkam Singh hands over an invitation for “Sarbat Khalsa” to SGPC chief secretary Harcharan Singh in Amritsar on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Vishal Kumar

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27

The SGPC has bluntly declined permission to Sikh bodies to hold “Sarbat Khalsa” (congregation of Sikh community) at the Golden Temple complex.

A section of Sikh organisations today approached the SGPC’s chief secretary and sought his permission. The discouraging response of the SGPC didn’t deter them as they decided to hold “Sarbat Khalsa” at some other venue in Amritsar on November 10.

The move has been initiated by Sikh organisations led by the United Akali Dal and SAD (A), focusing primarily on the controversial issue of exonerating the Dera Sacha Sauda head.

Their representatives today handed over the first invitation to the SGPC. They sought to hold the event at Gurdwara Manji Sahib hall at the Golden Temple complex.

SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said: “Except the Akal Takht Jathedar, nobody has the right to call ‘Sarbat Khalsa’. A handful of persons want to gain political mileage in the name of religion, which should be discouraged.”

He said it was unfortunate that certain Sikh leaders had also been influenced by anti-Panthic conspirators who wanted to cause divisions in the panth and weaken the SGPC.

Bhai Mohkam Singh of SAD (United) said they had high respect for the SGPC and extended the first invitation to it. “Contrary to our expectations, the SGPC didn’t respond positively. The Golden Temple and Akal Takht belong to the entire Sikh community, not to any particular party or individual. It is our right to hold ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ there. Nevertheless, we will hold the event as planned at some other venue,” he said.

The factions that had come out against the Akal Takht’s decision to pardon dera head were SAD (A), SAD (United), SAD (Pardhani), SAD (Delhi), Dal Khalsa, Damdami Taksal (Ajnala), Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Sant Samaj, Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and the All India Sikh Students Federation.

SAD (Delhi) chief Paramjit Singh Sarna said “Sarbat Khalsa” should be held at a place where the Badals and other anti-Sikh forces could not create hindrances. “There should be no constraints to hold it overseas too,” he said.

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