The Akal Takht on Thursday rejected the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee's (HSGMC, ad hoc) appeal to reconsider its decision to excommunicate Haryana Sikh leaders Jagdish Singh Jhinda, Didar Singh Nalwi and state finance minister Harmohinder Singh Chattha.
Earlier in the day, the HSGMC (ad hoc), at its general house meeting held in Kurukshetra, had passed a resolution urging the Akal Takht to reconsider the decision against the three Sikhs.
"There is no question of reviewing the decision," Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said when mediapersons sought his views on the resolution.
The jathedar pointed out that the 'hukamnama' (edict) against the trio was issued after due consideration and prolonged discussions. "The decision was not taken in haste. It was done in accordance with the 'maryada' of the Takht," he added.
"We have not closed the doors on them. They are free to appear before the Akal Takht at any time and ask for forgiveness," the jathedar added.
Khalsa Action Committee chairman Bhai Mokham Singh had also met the jathedar and submitted a memorandum calling for reconsidering the 'hukamnama', which he claimed was issued in haste and was politically influenced.
Earlier in Kurukshetra, standing firmly behind their leaders excommunicated by the Akal Takht on Wednesday for their roles in the HSGMC controversy, the Sikh sangat (congregation) urged the highest temporal seat to reconsider its decision.
At the general house meeting of HSGMC (ad hoc), held at Dera Kar Sewa on Thursday afternoon, a resolution was passed unanimously that Jhinda, Nalwi and Chattha were innocent.
HSGPC (ad hoc) general secretary Joga Singh read out the resolution which said that the Sikh sangat of Haryana was disappointed over the Akal Takht jathedar's 'biased' decision.
The resolution, which was supported by the sangat amid slogans of "Jo bole so nihal", also stated that the trio had only raised a legal issue which was duly accepted by the Haryana government and had the constitutional mandate to form an independent panel to manage shrines in the state.
Joga Singh clarified that the religious body had the highest regard for the supreme temporal seat of Sikhism. "But we are hurt over the role of those occupying the institution who are working under the influence of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal," he said.
"Jathedar nu Badal de tukdeyan te pal ke faisle nahin karne chahide (The jathedar should not let himself be dictated by Badal)," Joga Singh said while briefing the media.
Before the resolution was passed, Nalwi, Jhinda and their supporters, including former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Paramjit Singh Sarna, held a closed-door meeting that lasted nearly two hours at Dera Kar Sewa.
In his speech, Sarna said the decision to excommunicate three Sikh leaders was condemnable. He dared the SGPC to convene a 'Sarbat Khalsa' at Amritsar and let Sikh intellectuals discuss if excommunicating the trio for raising their voice over a constitutionally valid point was justified or not.
A known critic of Badal, Sarna said the jathedar should have recused himself from the case as in the past he had repeatedly shown his stance against the HSGMC.
"The jathedar has made a mockery of the supreme institution (Akal Takht) to suit Badal's political designs. I condemn his action and am ready for a tankhaiya (religious punishment)," he said.
Sarna said Badal and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar were a blot on the Sikh Panth and deserved punishment.
SGPC 'sends' staff to Haryana gurdwaras
Sources said around 2,000 employees of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had been issued orders to head for the SGPC-controlled gurdwaras in Haryana, including the Nada Sahib shrine near Chandigarh. Orders have been issued on the phone to employees, including senior SGPC functionaries.
When contacted, SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh denied any such move. "No such orders have been issued," he claimed.
Sources said the orders were aimed at resisting any possible attempt by Haryana Sikh leaders and their supporters to take control of SGPC-managed shrines.