Accusing the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) of transferring him under political pressure, ‘ardasia’ (priest) Balbir Singh, who on Friday denied a ‘siropa’ (saffron scarf of honour) to Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal at the Golden Temple, has said he’d resign but not leave the shrine.
Defying orders to join duty on Saturday morning at a Machhiwara gurdwara in Ludhiana district, Balbir Singh stayed home all day. “It was unexpected from the SGPC, because I gave it no reason for complaint in my long service. I have performed most of my sewa (service) in the Golden Temple and that’s where I’m going to stay. They SGPC can dismiss me but not force me to perform sewa anywhere else,” said the ardasia.
In reply to a question, he said: “I hold no grudge against anyone. I didn’t offer ‘siropa’ to the CM because I was upset that his government had failed to catch those behind the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib. I only executed Guru’s will, which I don’t regret.”
Being denied ‘siropa’ inside the sanctum sanctorum of the holiest shrine of Sikhs was a huge embarrassment for Badal.
In January, Balbir Singh had also denied the honour to deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. On Saturday, he claimed receiving many calls from appreciative ‘sangat’ (Sikh public).