After five sacred ‘birs’ (copies) of Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib caught fire at historical Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib on Thursday here, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee cancelled its much-anticipated executive-body meeting and SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar formed a five-member inquiry committee.
The SGPC has its publishing house at Ramsar Sahib, where it prints religious literature and copies of the holy book, so even the Sikh masses are taking the incident seriously. Sources said an air-conditioner’s heating up had started a short-circuit leading to fire. The printing-press employees brought the blaze under control.
Makkar said the fire was unfortunate and SGPC senior vice-president Raghujit Singh Virk, junior vice-president Kewal Singh Badal, general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, executive-committee member Rajinder Singh Mehta, and secretary Roop Singh would look into it and submit a report. Makkar and members of the executive committee also visited the fire-hit shrine. He called for directions to the authorities concerned to take proper care of ‘birs’.
Now, apology for 1984 demanded
Thanking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for tendering apology in his country’s parliament for the 1914 Komagata Maru episode, Makkar sought an apology from the Indian government as well for the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. “It’s matter of pride for Sikhs that the Canadian PM has respected their sentiments,” said Makkar. About the restriction on carrying metallic items into the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) hall, he urged the Union government to allow baptised Sikh candidates to keep ‘Kara’ and ‘Kirpan’ as their symbols of faith.