Three Sikh religious organisations on Friday condemned the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) over its recent decision of forming a five-member committee to go into the terms of the working of jathedars.
The move was another example of pulling wool over the eyes of the people, since the jathedar’s post did not even exist in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925, the members of the Institute of Sikh Studies, Khalsa Panchayat, and International Sikh Confederation claimed in a joint statement issued here.
Claiming that the move had come at the behest of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for the personal political gains of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, the Sikh organisations stated that the job of the SGPC was only to manage the gurdwaras, and the jathedars of the Takhts (temporal seats) should only be appointed by calling the ‘sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation of the entire Sikh community), which they said the present stakeholders of the Sikh religious and political affairs had never convened.
“The SGPC renamed the “head ministers” mentioned in the Sikh Gurdwara Act as “jathedars” to misuse the term, and assigned them the role deciding for the ‘panth’ (Sikh community), bypassing the tradition of ‘sarbat Khalsa’,” reads the statement.
Lieutenant general Kartar Singh Gill of the International Sikh Confederation; Birender Kaur of the Institute of Sikh Studies; and Rajinder Singh Khalsa of the Khalsa Panchayat; besides SGPC member Hardeep Singh of SAS Nagar were among the people who signed Friday’s statement.