With the Akal Takht having failed to subdue the Sikh leadership of Haryana, it is now banking on an amicable solution, acceptable both to the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on Monday said, “An amicable solution will be in the interests of the Sikh quam.”
In an informal chat with select mediapersons, the jathedar, however, made it clear that no channel of communication had been opened with the HSGMC. “Barring Jhinda and Nalwi, any other leader of the HSGMC was free to approach him,” he added.
However, there are indications that the jathedar is keeping him abreast of whatever ‘secret’ talks are taking place behind closed doors by mediators. A senior SGPC member said one such mediator was based in Chandigarh and he was in touch with the HSGMC leaders, including its president Jagdish Singh Jhinda and senior vice-president Didar Singh Nalwi.
The meeting of Takht Keshgarh Sahib jathedar Giani Mal Singh with Giani Gurbachan Singh here on Monday is also being seen as a move towards finding a solution to end the deadlock in Kurukshetra, where the HSGMC members are sitting on dharna outside Gurdwara Chhevin Patshahi, demanding eviction of the SGPC and its supporters from the shrine.
Though Giani Mal Singh described it as a “routine meeting”, indications are that he briefed his superior on the “behind-the-door” parleys that had taken place between the Chandigarh-based mediator and a few HSGMC leaders.
Giani Mal Singh said a solution would emerge in the next few days.
‘No amicable solution possible’
However, former SGPC secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta said that in the current scenario no amicable solution was possible. His contention was that there was no question of Jhinda and company accepting anything less than a separate committee, which had already been formed through an act passed by the assembly.
“Do you expect them to back out and invite the wrath of their government? The government will ultimately break the deadlock in Kurukshetra as it is its duty,” he added.
On what possibly could the SAD or SGPC offer to the Haryana Sikhs, Calcutta said it could be in the form of giving them more internal autonomy within the SGPC. This is what former National Commission for Minorities chairman Tirlochan Singh had recently proposed, he said.
Calcutta said that in 2004-05, on the orders of then SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal he had held talks with the Haryana Sikh leaders. They had agreed to the proposal of internal autonomy while agreeing to be part of the SGPC, he added.
“The proposal was never implemented despite Badal agreeing to it. However, now he may agree to it as he is against the wall,” he claimed.
Internal autonomy meant that the 11 members of the SGPC from Haryana could form their own separate sub-committee within the SGPC. The sub-committee would have the powers to utilise the funds collected from the shrines in Haryana. It would also be allowed to recruit persons into the SGPC from Haryana instead of depending on recruits from Punjab.
“It was also decided that the maximum number of persons on trusts managing educational institutes would be from within Haryana and not Punjab as is the case now,” said Calcutta.
Akal Takht move
The Akal Takht intervened in the HSGMC row at the very onset and issued a directive to maintain status quo vis-a-vis the gurdwaras in Haryana besides excommunicating three Sikh leaders.
A couple of Panthic leaders feel that with the deadlock persisting, this could have been an opportune time for the Takht to have come into the picture. It could have intervened in the matter directly instead of now having to rely on mediators.
“Given the respect this institution commands, the Haryana leaders would have come forward to sit with the SGPC leaders and the jathedar to find a solution. However, now this seems unlikely,” said a former SGPC official.