The Akal Takht has rejected the findings of a probe by the special investigation team (SIT) into the burning of 'bir' of Guru Granth Sahib at a gurdwara in Jodhpur village in Tarn Taran district on December one.
"I reject the findings that there was no foul play in the burning of the bir", said Akal Takht jathedar, Giani Gurbachan Singh, here on Tuesday.
Reacting to the findings of the SIT as reported in HT, the jathedar contended that it was just not possible for the SIT to arrive at the conclusion that foul play did not occur in just two days.
"Some of the burnt and destroyed material that was collected from the gurdwara at Jodhpur has been sent for forensic analysis to Chandigarh. Till this report does not come in, I will not go by what SIT is saying," he said while talking to media persons.
The jathedar further contended that even the Tarn Taran deputy commissioner and the SSP had visited the gurdwara and the spot where the 'bir' was burnt and they had clearly stated that there was foul play. Moreover, a number of village residents too had claimed before the police that they had seen some persons emerge from the shrine just before they noticed smoke coming out from the first floor of the gurdwara, he added.
Bhai Amrik Singh Ajnala, who heads a faction of the Damdami Taksal, too has rejected the findings of SIT and claimed that the fire was deliberately caused by 'anti-panthic' forces.
The incident had led to tension in the village, with Giani Gurbachan Singh terming it as an act of sacrilege and demanding stern punishment for those involved. Followers of the Nurmahal-based Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) were being blamed for this incident as the village has a fair number of followers of this sect.
The district administration had ordered the closure of the DJJS dera in Tarn Taran town a couple of days after the incident.
The jathedar has clearly warned the administration against reopening the dera. He has also warned that all those who were arrested in the case should not be released.
The police, after initial investigations had registered a case against nine persons believed to be supporters of DJJS. The case was registered on the complaint of one Ajit Singh of the village.
The FIR was registered under sections 452 (trespassing), 295-A (hurting religious sentiments), 436 and 427 of the IPC at the Tarn Taran sadar police station.
The Nurmahal based sect was being blamed as in October a clash had taken place in the village between DJJS followers and a group of Sikhs. The clash occurred over the issue of holding of a religious congregation by members of the sect.
The two-member SIT, comprising Amritsar police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh and Khanna SSP GS Gill, after visiting the village and the gurdwara, in its findings had ruled out any 'foul play'.
"The fire which led to the destruction of the 'bir' was caused due to short-circuit in electric wires as no precautionary measures were adopted. The electric wires were hung in a haphazard manner over the spot where the scripture was kept", the report, a copy of which is with HT, had stated.
The SIT was formed on December 12 following the instructions of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. It was asked to submit its report within 48 hours.
'Observing martyrdom days as per Sikh tenets"
The Akal Takht has directed the Sikhs to observe martyrdom days of Guru Gobind Singh's sons (sahibzade) in accordance with Sikh tenets, as these are solemn occasions.
"Such occasions should not be seen as 'melas' (fairs) but should be treated as solemn occasions," Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Gurbachan Singh, said in a statement issued here on Tuesday.
The Jathedar has clearly instructed all Sikhs not to display their names on banners on which 'gurbani' verses are written. Such banners with names of individuals and the organisations they represent should not be seen at the martyrdom days of the 'sahibzadas' that are scheduled to be observed at Fatehgarh Sahib and Chamkaur Sahib in the coming days, he added.
"The Sikh quam is instructed to adhere to these instructions," he added.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has asked Sikhs not to prepare sweet food items in the 'langar' (community kitchen) on the martyrdom days of the 'sahibzadas'. Other than 'parsad' no sweet item should be prepared, the SGPC has instructed.