Having been removed unceremoniously from his post, former high priest of Takht Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, Balwant Singh Nandgarh on Saturday vacated the official residence and was led in procession of people and representatives from supporting organisation to his house in Bathinda.
The akhand path (prayers) at the official resident of jathedar that had started on Monday concluded with a bhog in presence of representatives of political parties and organisations who have been supporting Nandgarh on issue of Nanakshahi calendar. Addressing the people, Nandgarh urged them to unite for further struggles for securing the separate identity of Sikhs.
Nandgarh was brought to his residence in Virat Greens Township in Bathinda in the form of a cavalcade with Nandgarh travelling in a open jeep.
The speakers also alleged that the state government and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) succumbed to pressure from Hindu rightwing organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for replacing Nankshahi calendar with the Bikrami calendar and added that the Nanakshahi calendar was symbolised a separate identity of the Sikhs, which is now under threat due to reversion to the Bikrami calendar.
Meanwhile, executive member Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC), Swaran Singh announced that HSGMC will follow the original Nanakshahi calender. HSGMC representatives have decided to honour Nandgarh on February 21.
The organisations have decided to protest against the government's decision to sack Nandgarh by observing January 26 as a black day. Nandgarh's supporters will furl black flags on their homes, vehicles and men will also wear black turbans while women will wear black duppatta.
The representatives of political parties who attended the event included Harpal Singh Cheema and Kulbir Singh Barapind of Akali Dal Panch Pardhani, Dhyan Singh Mand of SAD (Amritsar) and representatives of Ek Noor Khalsa Fauj, Satkar Sabha Haryana, HSGMC and Dal Khalsa.
As a replacement, Akal Takht head priest Giani Gurmukh Singh has been given additional charge as the high priest of Takht Damdama Sahib.