Punjab cabinet minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Sikander Singh Maluka was on Sunday declared ‘tankhaiya’ (guilty of religious misconduct) by Akal Takht, the Sikh temporal seat, for distortion of a prayer at a function held to inaugurate his election ofice in Rampura Phul segment in Bathinda district.
He will, as punishment, have to perform ‘sewa’ (service) at the Golden Temple’s ‘joda ghar’ (shoes handling section) for three days besides donating Rs 51,000; and wash utensils for a day and donate Rs 31,000 at Takht Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo. Later, he will have to get conducted an ‘akhand path’ (prayers) at the Golden Temple.
Going by a probe report by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh handed out the punishment to Maluka, who was present and stood with folded hands, after a meeting of the clergy.
“I respect the decision of the Akal Takht,” maluka said, acknowledging his mistake in front of the jathedar.
The incident came to light after a video of the function held late last month went viral; in it, the composition of an ‘ardas’ was used to praise Hindu gods, besides making the usual Sikh references. The jathedar had immediately criticised Maluka and prompted the SGPC to form a three-member probe committee.
The jathedar on Sunday said that Maluka, being district president of the SAD and a minister, got conducted the prayer “by ignoring Sikh ethos” and had hurt sentiments.
Earlier in the day, Maluka reached the Golden Temple even before the meeting of the Sikh high priests began and paid obeisance at the central Harmandar Sahib before the punishment was pronounced.