Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar has said that no manuscript or written material “missing” from Sikh Reference Library of the Golden Temple here since Operation Bluestar in 1984 was ever returned.
He made this claim on Saturday, while answering the media queries on the statement of former army chief general JJ Singh (retd) that the army had returned all the literature to the SGPC. “Our repeated requests to the Defence Ministry and other central government departments for this precious treasure have gone unheard. Even the Akali-BJP government has had no success with them,” he said.
The SGPC took up this matter with the current army chief, general Dalbir Singh, when he paid obeisance at the Golden Temple last month. The general asked the committee to put in a written request with the Defence Ministry for him to be able to look into the matter. However. he also claimed that as far as he knew, no such literature was with the army.
During the June 1984 military operation to flush out armed militants from the Golden Temple, many rare manuscripts, including handwritten ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib went “missing” from the library and while the SGPC put the blame on the army, the Defence Ministry said all material seized had been handed over to intelligence agencies, which have denied any knowledge of it.
No to printing copies of holy book in Pak
Commenting on the Pakistan Sikh Gurdara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) move to print and publish the Sikh holy book in Pakistan, Makkar said: “The sole publishing rights are with the SGPC. This work is done based on the Sikh ‘maryada’ (religious code), at Gurdwara Ramsar in Amritsar.”
The Pakistani committee had stated recently that Pakistan Waqf Board was ready to print ‘birs’ of the Sikh scripture. The Akal Takht, highest temporal seat of Sikh faith, also has banned the printing and publishing of the scripture by any individual or printing house except the SGPC. A couple of years ago, even the Punjab government had passed an Act to this effect.
Patits can’t vote in SGPC polls
Makkar took strong exception to the statement of Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu in the Lok Sabha that ‘Patit’ (fallen) Sikhs (with shorn hair or trimmed beards) be given the right to vote in the SGPC general elections.
“The Sikh Gurdwara Act allows only ‘saabat soorat’ (baptised) Sikhs to vote in the SGPC polls,” he said, accusing Bittu of trying to divide the Sikh community. Makkar also said he had a grand plan for observing the 300 years of the martyrdom of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur (a follower of Guru Gobind Singh, who took on the Mughals and chased them out of Sirhind and some other parts of Punjab) from May.