The Akal Takht’s decision to excommunicate Haryana finance minister Harmohinder Singh Chattha and Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC, ad hoc) members Jagdish Singh Jhinda and Didar Singh Nalwi on the charge of “dividing and weakening” the Sikh ‘quam’ (community) has come in for criticism from Panthic leaders, including a few owing allegiance to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Most Panthic leaders opposed to the SAD have termed it a political decision. Those aligned with the ruling party have refrained from expressing their opinion publicly, though they too feel that the Akal Takht should have kept out of the matter.
Appeals have already started coming in, asking Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh to reconsider the decision.
Here are some viewpoints:
Once again the Badals have misused the Akal Takht for their vested interests and done damage to the reputation of this high institution. The granthis (high priests) who took the decision have ensured that their jobs remain intact. -- Bhai Ranjit Singh, former Akal Takht jathedar.
It’s not in line with the Akal Takht’s tradition to interfere in the SGPC’s administrative working. The HSGMC case is an administrative matter. The Takht edict is a political decision taken at the behest of Parkash Singh Badal. It has lowered the ‘maryada’ and prestige of this institution. -- Manjit Singh Calcutta, former SGPC secretary.
The Akal Takht should have kept out of this matter. The issue should have been resolved politically and through legal means. Instead of the SGPC, the SAD should have come forward to take up the issue at the political level. Attempts should not be made to lower the authority of the Akal Takht. -- Kiranjot Kaur, SGPC member.
Though we are against the formation of the HSGMC, we had told the jathedar (before the excommunication) that no decision should be taken in haste. Though I will not comment on the Akal Takht’s decision, I will say that our viewpoint was not considered before taking it. -- Harnam Singh Dhuma, head, Damdami Taksal and Sant Samaj.
Though the edict was a politically-motivated decision, I do not think that it has undermined the authority of the Akal Takht, which the Sikhs will always look up to for guidance. However, I appeal to the jathedar to review the decision. -- Bhai Mokham Singh, chairman, Khalsa Action Committee.
The ‘hukamnama’ was drafted and finalised by the SAD’s core committee in Chandigarh. The Badals have again blatantly misused the seat and seal of the Akal Takht to fix their adversaries. Asking for their right to manage gurdwaras independent of the Badals is no way a sin. -- Kanwarpal Singh Bittu, Dal Khalsa.
My repeated charge that the Badals misuse the Akal Takht for their vested, political interests has again been proved. What is wrong in Sikhs of another state demanding a separate committee to manage their shrines? Such decisions do at times damage the reputation of the Takht, but still these cannot undermine its supreme authority. -- Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, SAD (Delhi).
The Akal Takht should have been kept out of this matter. However, the Badals again decided to involve the Takht deliberately so as to divert the attention of the people from other burning issues that the state is facing and also the budget, which had nothing to offer. -- HS Phoolka, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader.