The Panj Pyaras (five beloved ones of the guru), who draw their support from Sikh radical groups, on Tuesday claimed that the jathedars of the five Takhts have no right to decide on matters concerning the ‘Panth’.
“These five jathedars have lost the trust of the ‘Panth’ (Sikh community). They have taken decisions that were anti-Panthic and mounted to backstabbing the entire Panth,” said a statement issued by the Panj Pyaras here.
According to the statement, the Panj Pyaras held a meeting on Monday and took a serious view of the decisions taken by the jathedars. “The meeting called upon the Sikh ‘quam’ not to trust those who while sitting on the highest of positions have lowered the honour and prestige of the Takhts,” said the statement.
The five Sikh priests whom were not referred to by name are Giani Gurbachan Singh, jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Mal Singh, jathedar of Takht Keshgarh Sahib, Giani Gurmukh Singh, acting jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, Giani Iqbal Singh, jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib and Jyot Inder Singh, additional jathedar of Takht Hazur Sahib at Nanded in Maharashtra.
The statement was signed by Panj Pyaras — Satnam Singh Kanda, Satnam Singh, Major Singh, Tirlok Singh and Mangal Singh. The five used to perform ‘amrit sanchar’ (baptism) ceremonies at the Akal Takht when they were in the service of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
The SGPC, however, sacked them last year after they directed the gurdwara panel to remove the jathedars. The Panj Pyaras had sought the removal of the Sikh high priests after they pardoned Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim in a blasphemy case in September last year. However, after an outcry from a section of the Sikh community, the Takht jathedars had revoked their decision. Referring to the meeting of the jathedars and their decision to summon members of a managing committee of a Virginia (United States)-based gurdwara before the Akal Takht on June 4, the Panj Pyaras said as the jathedars had lost the trust of the ‘Panth’, they cannot issue such orders.
“However, this does not imply that the decision to summon the Virginia-based gurdwara’s mangement committee members is wrong. The issue is already under consideration and we are awaiting a detailed report”, the Panj Pyaras said.
They said that making changes in the rituals that govern ‘amrit sanchar’ ceremonies was wrong and it was a serious matter for which the managing committee members responsible had to answer the ‘Panth’ . They claimed that the matter came to their notice sometime back and they had then formed a three-member probe committee.
“We are awaiting the report of the probe committee and will then proceed against the members of the Virginia gurdwara committee,” they added.