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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Akal Takht jathedar declares Bengaluru Sikh a tankhaiya

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, June 16, 2014
First Published: 11:16 IST(16/6/2014) | Last Updated: 11:20 IST(16/6/2014)

The Akal Takht has found a Bengaluru-based Sikh and member of a gurdwara management committee, Harminder Singh, guilty of desecrating a gurdwara and declared him ‘tankhaiya’ (guilty of religious misconduct).

“He was found indulging in immoral acts inside the premises of the gurdwara and he did not desist in spite of our written warnings,” said Akal Takht jathedar, Giani Gurchachan Singh while addressing the media after chairing a meeting of the Sikh high priests on Sunday.

The ‘guilty’ Sikh has been directed to appear before the Akal Takht during the next meeting of the high priests. The date will be intimated to him.

“If he appears we will award him ‘tankha’ (religious punishment) but if he fails, we will proceed in accordance with our traditions,” the jathedar added.

Harminder Singh is a member of the management of the shrine, which he has been accused of misusing.

He also brings out a monthly magazine, ‘Khalsa Bulletin’.

The clergy at its meeting also took note of certain derogatory remarks that were passed against the Akal Takht jathedar by Gurcharan Singh Babbar, a Delhi-based Sikh, who runs an organisation called the ‘All India Sikh Conference’. Babbar had in a recent article in a Punjabi magazine, criticised the functioning of the jathedar. He too has been asked to appear before the Akal Takht at the next meeting of the high priests.

SUGGESTIONS SOUGHT ON SCRIPTURE

The jathedar has invited suggestions from gurdwara management committees and Sikh religious organisations and groups on sending copies of the Guru Granth Sahib to shrines in various countries. The clergy decided to invite suggestions as criticism has come in from certain quarters, expressing reservations on packing the scripture in containers and then shipping it.

“We will try to work out the best possible solution after taking into consideration the suggestions offered. We have to ensure due respect to the scripture, even while it is being carried from one place to another,” the jathedar said. The SGPC is the only one empowered by the Akal Takht to publish and print the scripture.

A set religious procedure has to be followed while transporting the scripture from one place to another. At times it becomes difficult to follow this procedure, particular when the scripture has to be taken by air or by sea. Another issue that the clergy discussed was related to ‘wrongful’ depiction of Sikh gurus in photographs and paintings. On this issue too they have invited suggestions. Besides Giani Gurbachan Singh, the others who took part in the meeting included, Takht Keshgarh Sahib jathedar Giani Mal Singh; Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Harmandir Sahib head ‘granthi’ Giani Jagtar Singh and Sukhjinder Singh, a ‘granthi’ of the shrine.

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