After lying low for almost two months, the Panj Pyaras — the five beloved ones of the Guru — on Monday directed the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee executive to dismiss the jathedars of the Akal Takht, Takht Damdama Sahib and Takht Keshgarh Sahib before January 2.
“They should be dismissed as they are guilty of undermining the authority and supremacy of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs. If these orders are not complied with, we will announce our next programme on January 2,” said the ‘gurmata’ (a religious decree) issued by the Panj Pyaras after their meeting at the Akal Takht here.
Those who took part in the meeting included Giani Satnam Singh Khanda, Giani Satnam Singh, Giani Tirlok Singh, Giani Mangal Singh and Giani Major Singh.
The three Takhts are controlled by the SGPC, with its executive having powers to appoint and dismiss the jathedars. The other two Takhts at Patna Sahib and Hazur Sahib are managed by independent boards.
The Panj Pyaras have sought the dismissal of Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, Takht Keshgarh Sahib jathedar Giani Mal Singh and the acting jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib Giani Gurmukh Singh.
The Panj Pyaras had earlier been suspended and transferred to SGPC shrines outside Punjab but their suspension was later revoked by the gurdwara body following widespread criticism from teh Sikh community.
However, the transfer orders were not taken back, as a result the two Panj Pyaras had to join duty at the SGPC-run gurdwara in Kurukshetra and three were posted at Hapur in Uttar Pardesh.
Prior to their transfer in October, the five performed the ‘amrit sanchar’ (baptism) ceremony at the Akal Takht which is held twice a week.
On October 23, they had first directed the SGPC executive to dismiss the three jathedars for their role in pardoning Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh in a blasphemy case and then revoking the pardon following criticism from a large section of the Sikhs, including some SGPC members loyal to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) .
As the SGPC has failed to carry out their orders, the Panj Pyaras have now once again issued a direction to the executive to sack the three jathedars.
SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar was not aware of the Panj Pyaras’ latest decision. “We are busy at Fatehgarh Sahib (Jor Mela function) and not aware of their (Panj Pyaras) decision,” said Makkar.