Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on Monday directed all gurdwara committees to appoint chowkidars (watchmen) for ensuring the safety of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture.
He issued these directions after being informed of 11 ‘saroops’ (copies) of the Guru Granth Sahib being destroyed in a fire at the dera of Baba Prem Dass at Bangi Kalan village in Doaba.
He termed this as a serious incident as time and again instructions have been issued by the Akal Takht and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to the managing committees of gurdwaras for taking precautionary measures to prevent accidental fires that are normally caused due to short-circuit in electricity wires.
“It is rather strange that such incidents only occur at gurdwaras and not in temples or churches,” he pointed out in a statement issued here.
The jathedar wondered why such incidents did not occur in the offices of the managing committee members on the premises of gurdwaras or in the rooms of 'granthis' (priests) or at their homes. He directed the SGPC to probe the matter to bring out the truth.
He also asked the SGPC to form flying squads to conduct surprise checks on shrines to find out whether necessary precautions are being taken to prevent accidental fire.
The managing committees concerned should be pulled up if these measures are lacking, he added.
He said the SGPC should also conduct checks to ensure that every gurdwara has a 'chowkidar', whose primary duty will be to ensure the safety of the scripture. The instructions by the jathedar were directed at gurdwaras that are not managed by the SGPC, as a majority of the accidental fires have occurred in gurdwaras which have their independent managing committees.