No move to replace Takht jathedars, says SGPC chief

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Nov 26, 2015 20:28 IST
SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar (extreme right) along with other SGPC members during a meeting in Chandigarh on Thursday. (Ravi Kumar/HT Photo)

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar on Thursday said there was no move to remove five Sikh high priests, including Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh.

“All is fine, there is nothing to worry,” said Makkar at a press conference here, brushing aside the queries on the deadlock with the Panj Pyaras (five beloved ones of the guru), who had asked the SGPC to remove the Takht jathedars on October 23.

Makkar was addressing the media after presiding over a meeting of SGPC executive committee at Kalgidhar Niwas here.

During the two-hour meeting, the SGPC president faced the wrath of general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur and two other executive members, who were angry over Rs 91 lakh being spent by the panel on advertisements pertaining to the pardoning of Sirsa dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

When contacted, Bhaur said he raised voice against the huge amount of money spent on such advertisements. “Not a penny was later spent to advertise the revoking of the pardon that was avoidable,” Bhaur said.

The executive also failed to allocate a monthly rent of Rs 45,000 for SGPC chief secretary Harcharan Singh’s accommodation as Bhaur and other executive members, including Karnail Singh Panjoli and Rajinder Singh Mehta, scuttled the move.

The decisions taken at the executive meeting included 8% hike in the dearness allowance (DA) for nearly 10,000 SGPC employees, move to install close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at all gurdwaras across Punjab, construction of 250 new rooms at Takht Keshgarh Sahib (Anandpur Sahib). It also passed a resolution hailing the Punjab cabinet’s move for life imprisonment to sacrilege convicts.

The executive also condemned the latest incident of sacrilege at Chahal village in Patiala, urging the state government to take effective steps to stop such incidents.

The executive met here on Thursday after two months. Earlier, two meetings scheduled at Amritsar were postponed in the wake of controversies over pardon to Ram Rahim and the radical Sarbat Khalsa.

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