Upset over the newfound warmth between Shiromani Akali Dal and Dera Sacha Sauda ahead of the February 4 assembly elections, former Akal Takht jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, who had issued ‘hukamnama’ for boycotting the dera in 2007, has said the SAD’s move was a disrespect to the ‘maryada’ of Akal Takht. He even stressed that the incumbent Akal Takht jathedar must take note of the development and act.
Akali Dal on Wednesday had announced to facilitate ‘satsangs’ of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda in lieu of support of its followers in Punjab elections.
Talking to Hindustan Times, the former jathedar said the ‘hukamnama’ was not his personal decision but that of five high priests.
The edict was issued after dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh appeared in an attire ‘resembling’ that of Guru Gobind Singh.
“After the dera chief imitated Guru, Punjab had to witness unprecedented unrest which claimed lives of some Sikh youths. After many years in 2016, the situation turned tense again when Akal Takht incumbent jathedar Gurbachan Singh pardoned the dera chief . The fresh development can be an invitation to black days,” Vedanti said.
“As Akal Takht did not withdraw the hukamnama and its current jathedar also revoked the apology granted to the dera chief, the edict that asks the Sikhs to boycott the dera socially, politically and religiously still exists and is binding on all from the community,” he said.
Reacting to the support extended by Sant Samaj, an organisation of heads of various Sikh sects, to the SAD, he made an appeal to the body to confine its operations to religious matters. “Religious personalities should not interfere in politics,” he said.
On Akali Dal’s promise to facilitate dera’s satsangs in Punjab, he said, “The government has already given security to the dera to organise their congregations. It can lead to violence.”
The Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar maintained silence on the issue.
Badungar asked this correspondent to speak to the Akal Takht jathedar when approached for his comment, and the jathedar couldn’t be contacted throughout the day.
WHO SAID WHAT
PANJOLI URGES AKAL TAKHT TO ACT AGAINST AKALI NOMINEES
Patiala: Shiromani Akali Dal senior vice-president and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee member Karnail Singh Panjoli on Thursday lodged a written complaint with the Akal Takht, seeking action against all Akali Dal candidates who sought support from Dera Sacha Sauda in the assembly elections, which, he said, was in violation of the supreme Sikh body’s edict.
Panjoli had taken up the matter telephonically with Akal Takht hathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh last night and followed it up with a written complaint on Thursday. In the letter, he referred to the edict issued by Akal Takht on May 17, 2007, from Takht Damdama Sahib, directing social, political and religious boycott of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and his followers for imitating Guru Gobind Singh.
DERA DEAL IS LAST NAIL IN SAD COFFIN: DAL KHALSA
Amritsar: Hitting out at the Akali Dal for striking a deal with the Dera Sacha Sauda, the Dal Khalsa has said the people will teach Badals a lesson for hobnobbing with the anti-Sikh elements.
Notwithstanding the outcome of the February 4 election results, the Dal Khalsa said, “The Sikhs will not allow the Sirsa dera to do ‘satsang’ on the soil of Punjab. Outfit president HS Cheema and spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said the ‘alliance’ was in violation of the ‘hukamnama’ issued by jathedars of five takhts in 2007. “Sukhbir Badal has ditched the panth. This will prove the last nail in the coffin of the Akali Dal,” they said.
They said it’s established now that the “politically managed” move to pardon Sirsa dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in September 2016 was engineered by Sukhbir under a secret deal.
AAP ASKS TAKHT TO CLARIFY POSITION
Amritsar: As Shiromani Akali Dal is in the line of fire for striking a deal with Dera Sacha Sauda, the Aam Aadmi Party has asked the Akal Takht to clarify its position. In a press conference, former SGPC member and AAP leader Jaswinder Singh Advocate said, “The entire ‘deal’ has made things very obvious. The Badals have given Akal Takht ‘hukamnama’ ago-by for political gains.” “When as per the Akal Takht edict Dera Sirsa faces a boycott, how can Badals take its support. How can government allow satsangs of the dera in Punjab,” he said, adding that the people should socially boycott the Badals and other Akali leaders.
SINGH SABHA CALLS FOR BOYCOTT OF SAD LEADERS
Chandigarh: The Kendriya Guru Singh Sabha here on Thursday condemned the “deal” between the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Dera Sacha Sauda. In a statement, Gurpreet Singh and Khushal Singh said the party had prostrated itself before the dera, which had been disrespectful to the Sikh religion. “The SAD has defied the ‘hukamnama’ of the Akal Takth,” they said. They appealed to the Sikhs to boycott SAD leaders.