Chandigarh: Amidst strong objection by Sikh leaders to the pardon granted to Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by the Akal Takht, faith’s highest temporal seat, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Saturday urged the community to accept the decision.
“As Sikhs, we cannot challenge the supremacy of the Akal Takht. When five Sikh priests at the Akal Takht take any decision, every Sikh has to abide by it,” said SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar. Seeking to put behind a bitter row, the Takht had on September 24 said it had pardoned Ram Rahim after considering a letter of apology from him. The dera chief is accused of hurting the sentiments of Sikhs by dressing up as Guru Gobind Singh, tenth Sikh Guru, during a religious congregation of his sect.
2007 edict can’t be void: Sikh bodies
Sikh organisations such as the All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF), Bhai Mohkam Singh’s United Akali Dal and Dal Khalsa also have criticised the decision. Sikh leaders such as former Akal Takht jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, who had issued the 2007 ‘hukamnama’ (edict) against the dera chief, have termed it “a betrayal of the Sikh community”. They see political motive behind the move and argue that the ‘hukamnama’ issued in 2007 cannot be cancelled or amended.
SGPC general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur has also expressed displeasure over the Akal Takht decision, saying it has hurt the sentiments of Sikhs. “I do not know what they (Sikh clergy) were thinking when they pardoned him (dera head). Several lives were lost and several people went to jail to implement the hukamnama (edict) issued in 2007,” said Bhaur. Violent clashes had broken out between the dera followers and Sikhs in parts of Punjab at that time.
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