The sacked Panj Pyaras (five beloved ones of the guru) have called upon the Sikh community to check interference by political parties or groups in the control and management of Sikh shrines.
“It is our firm opinion that we must free our gurdwaras from political parties,” they said in a statement released to the media here on Wednesday.
The Panj Pyaras, however, did not specify whether these gurdwaras included those managed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which is controlled by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
The statement was signed by Satnam Singh Khanda, Satnam Singh, Tirlok Singh and Mangal Singh - the four who had been sacked from service by the SGPC last week. The fifth signature was that of Bhai Major Singh, who retired from service on December 31.
The statement said a ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation of Sikhs) should be called to decide on the broad framework or rules under which the Akal Takht should function. The congregation must also frame rules under which the jathedars of the five Takhts can be appointed or dismissed from service, the statement added, without referring to the SGPC executive’s role in this regard.
In the statement, the Panj Pyaras made it clear that the congregation must comprise devoted Gur Sikhs (baptised) representing the community settled across the globe. The five had earlier held Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh guilty of having violated the ‘maryada’ (code of conduct) of the Takht when he pardoned Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a blasphemy case. They had called for the ‘social boycott’ of Giani Gurbachan Singh and the jathedars of Takht Keshgarh Sahib and Takht Damdama Sahib.
‘No politics involved’
In the statement, the Panj Pyaras made it clear that they were neither associated with any political party or group nor taking any decision under political influence. They described themselves as ‘humble servants’ of the Panth.
“We will welcome positive opinions or advice that is offered to us on issues concerning the Panth. We are even open to opinions or suggestions that may come from those who do not agree with our line of thought,” they added.