Akal Takht jathedar ‘forced’ to quit | india | Hindustan Times
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Akal Takht jathedar ‘forced’ to quit

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) on Monday forced Joginder Singh Vedanti, jathedar of the Sikhs highest temporal body, the Akal Takht, to quit his position, reports Kuldeep Mann.

india Updated: Aug 06, 2008 01:22 IST
Kuldeep Mann

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) on Monday forced Joginder Singh Vedanti, jathedar of the Sikhs highest temporal body, the Akal Takht, to quit his position.

“Without citing any reason they told me to either sign the resignation letter citing ill health as my reason of my stepping down, or face expulsion. I had no choice,” said Vedanti.

The SGPC promptly accepted Vedanti’s resignation at its scheduled Executive Committee meeting in Kurukshetra on Monday, and elevated the Harmandar Sahib Head Granthi Gurbachan Singh to Acting Jathedar in his place. The dissenting notes of executive Members Karnail Singh Panjauli and Gurwinder Singh Shampura, who challenged the criteria used to appoint and remove Jathedars, were ignored

Sources told Hindustan Times that Vedanti had to pay the price of showering praise on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a couple of days before the UPA government faced the trust vote in Parliament on July 22. Although Vedanti did not issue any hukumnama (religious directive) supporting Manmohan Singh, he did praise Singh for being the symbol of Sikh identity the world over and for his clean image.

Vedanti’s remarks are believed to have ruffled both Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir, who heads the Shiromani Akali Dal. The SAD, which has an alliance with the BJP, supported the opposition in the trust vote. Even earlier, Vedanti’s decision to attend a pro-Khalistan conference in the US had also raised the hackles of the moderates in the party.

Vedanti was at his official residence when on behalf of SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, executive members Sukhdev Singh Bhaur and Rajinder Singh Mehta approached him around 9pm and told him to sign the resignation letter.

SPGC president Avtar Singh Makkar denied that Vedanti had been forced to quit.