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Posted at: Oct 22, 2019, 6:57 AM; last updated: Oct 22, 2019, 10:39 AM (IST)

Takht turns down govt offer, says SGPC to hold main event

Jathedar warns leaders against politicisation of pious occasion

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 21

Rejecting the state government’s proposal, Akal Takht today announced that the main programme of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev would be held as per ‘maryada’ on the SGPC-sponsored stage at Sultanpur Lodhi on November 12. No stage could be “misutilised” for giving any political colour to the occasion, said Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh.

Besides religious personalities, the stage would be reserved only for dignitaries, including President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Bada, he saidl.

The stage would be presided over by five high priests under the leadership of Akal Takht Jathedar, who would also deliver customary message for the Sikh community.

This decision, among others, was taken in consultation with representatives of various Sikh organisations and intellectuals during the high priests’ meeting held at Akal Takht secretariat today.

The Jathedar emphasised that the SGPC-managed stage was the only recognised “Guru Panth stage”. Issuing a stern warning against giving a political colour to any event, Giani Harpreet Singh said the other podiums, be it of the state government or any Sikh organization, must only be used for propagating the philosophy and teachings of Guru Nanak.

“The decision was taken after discussions with various Sikh intellectuals. Earlier also, all religious centenaries were celebrated by the SGPC. For the 550th Parkash Purb too, all arrangements would be taken care of by the Sikh body,” he said.

It may be mentioned that two parallel stages have been put up at Sultanpur Lodhi. While the SGPC has hired Guru Nanak Stadium, 100 metre away from Gurdwara Ber Sahib, the state government has spent Rs 52 crore to erect a tent city and a huge pandal to accommodate visitors at the backside of the gurdwara for the main events.

Tankhah relief put on hold

The issue of absolution of religious punishment awarded to Sikhs in the past was not taken up by the high priests. Sources said the matter had been put on hold for the time being. However, acting upon complaints of ‘maryada’ violation against Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale, it was decided to constitute a five-member committee to probe the matter.

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