Ostensibly the fear of facing a hostile Sikh community kept Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh away from the function organised at the Golden Temple here on Saturday to pay homage to the victims of the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her bodyguards Beant Singh and Satwant Singh.
The jathedar also skipped another function held to pay ‘homage’ to Beant Singh, the assassin of Indira Gandhi, who too was killed the same day by other securitymen. By doing so, the jathedar has ignored the advice given by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar to the jathedars of the three Takhts in Punjab.
Makkar on Friday had asked them to move out of their houses and offices and meet devotees and interact with the public. Makkar had assured the jathedars that the SGPC did not intend to remove them from their posts.
A number of Sikhs are seeking the resignation of the jathedars for their role in pardoning the Sirsa dera head. The jathedars of Akal Takht, Takht Keshgarh Sahib and Takht Damdama Sahib have not been attending public functions since the pardon row.
As expected, Giani Gurbachan Singh did not attend the bhog ceremony of Beant Singh held at Gurdwara Jhanda Bunga near the Akal Takht.
Over the years, the jathedars of the Akal Takht have always attended the function as Beant Singh has been recognised as a ‘quami shaheed’ (martyr).
SGPC officials refused to comment on this.