Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) executive committee member Karnail Singh Panjoli on Tuesday demanded reinstatement of the suspended Panj Pyaras, barely days after he supported the apex gurdwara body’s order on their removal.
Panjoli said SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar should “rectify the blunder” of sacking the Panj Pyaras, the beloved five of the Guru, and accept their high status under the Sikh traditions.
He said Makkar should also implement the Panj Pyaras’ October 23 decree that had called for the dismissal of the jathedars of the Takht Keshgarh sahib, the Takht Damdama Sahib and the Akal Takht, over the pardon to Sirsa dera head, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, in a blasphemy case.
It was after this decree that the SGPC had decided to suspend four of the Panj Pyaras — Bhai Satnam Singh Khanda, Sahnam Singh, Tirlok Singh and Mangal Singh— saying they had overstepped their mandate. The fifth, Major Singh, retired on December 31 last year.
Panjoli said the Akal Takht’s pardon to the dera head, and its revocation later, had damaged the reputation of the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs and that the Panj Pyaras had intervened “only to check the denigration.”
“[T]he SGPC added to the crisis by treating them (Panj Pyaras) as its employees,” Panjoli said, adding that the Panj Pyaras’ decree on the jathedars “reflected the collective views of the Sikh community”.
Panjoli said Makkar should particularly consider the views of the Golden Temple’s head granthi, Giani Jagtar Singh, who, on Monday, favoured the Panj Pyaras’ reinstatement.
Panjoli’s support to the decision of suspending the Panj Pyaras, taken by the majority of SGPC members during an executive meet last week, had taken many ‘panthic’ leaders by surprise. Panjoli had himself been critical of the pardon granted to the Sirsa dera head by the Akal Takht and had demanded the removal of Akal Takht jathedar, Giani Gurbachan Singh.