The sacking of four of the Panj Pyaras on Friday drew criticism from Sikh radical groups and Panthic organisations, who have blamed the ruling Badals for the controversial move.
In a statement, the Panthic Talmel Sangathan headed by former Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Giani Kewal Singh termed the sacking as “an unfortunate step taken against the wishes of the majority of the Sikh Panth.”
The statement issued by Jaswinder Singh Advocate on behalf of the sangathan alleged that the decision of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) executive was politically motivated.
“The concept of the Panj Pyaras, started by Guru Gobind Singh, is an important part of Sikhism. The guru himself was not above the Panj Pyaras. The executive has tried to undermine the supremacy and status of the five on whom the guru bestowed supreme powers,” Jaswinder said in the statement.
“The ‘Panth’ of the Badals has prevailed over the Sikh Panth,” he said indicating that the SGPC executive had fulfilled the wishes of the Badals.
The other organisations mentioned in the statement included the Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Sikh Missionary College, Akal Purkh ki Fauj and Sri Guru Singh Sabha.
Meanwhile, radical groups Dal Khalsa and Shiromani Akali Dal (Panch Pardhani) alleged that the SGPC executive’s decision was “engineered by the Badals only to satisfy their ego and arrogance.”
Spokespersons of the two organisations, Kanwarpal Singh and Harpal Singh Cheema, respectively, said the executive’s step was in contrast to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s claims that “they never interfered in religious affairs.”
The two leaders said the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the SGPC were highly mistaken in thinking that the Panj Pyaras could be sacked anytime. The Sikh masses are with the Panj Pyaras and this is what made them direct the SGPC executive to sack the jathedars of the Akal Takht, Takht Keshgarh Sahib and Takht Damdama Sahib, they said.
The two leaders said their organisations would wait for the proposed programme that the Panj Pyaras would announce on Saturday.