Security has been stepped in parts of Punjab, in view of the controversial ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation of Sikhs) to be held at Amritsar tomorrow, amid a divided opinion among hardliners and various Sikh organisations over holding such an event.
Gurmat Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj, a conglomerate of various Sikh religious bodies, had maintained that holding of ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ must be kept away from any controversies. Giving a call to the Sikh community to maintain supremacy of Akal Takht, the Sant Samaj chief Harnam Singh Khalsa said that “we are in favour of ‘Sarbat Khalsa’, but the centre of holding the event should be Akal Takht.”
He said that Damdami Taksal has an optimistic view to participate in the proposed congregation under the name of ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ slated for November 10 if the venue is Akal Takht.
Presently, there were various controversies going on in the Sikh community and the proposed congregation under the name of ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ will further deepen the issues, said Khalsa, who is also the president of Damdami Taksal.
“The proposed gathering will undermine the tradition of calling ‘Sarbat Khalsa’,” he said.
He claimed that anti-Sikh elements were “hatching conspiracies” to harm Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs and the constitutional organisation of SGPC.
However, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD-Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann along with other like-minded Sikh hardliner outfits have asserted that during the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ the Jathedars of three Takhts — Gurbachan Singh (Akal Takht), Mal Singh (Kesgarh Sahib) and Gurmukh Singh (Damdama Sahib) would be removed.
Sikh hardliners have planned to hold the congregation in Amritsar, for which land has been taken on rent on the Amritsar-Tarn Taran road at Gurdwara Baba Naudh Singh after they were refused by the SGPC to hold the event in the Golden Temple.
Sikhs owing allegiance to different organisations and hardliners have called the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’, demanding the Takht jathedars be sacked for their alleged role in pardoning the Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, which was later revoked, besides discussing the incidents of sacrilege of Sikh’s holy book.
The factions which have came out against the grant of pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda Sect chief are Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD-Amritsar) headed by Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD (united) led by Mokham Singh, SAD (Pardhani), SAD (Delhi), Dal Khalsa, Damdami Taksal (Ajnala), Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Sant Samaj, Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Committee and the All India Sikh Students Federation.
Meanwhile, Akal Takht head Giani Gurbachan Singh maintained that only top temporal seat of Sikhs could call a ‘Sarbat Khalsa’.
However, contesting Gurbachan’s claim, the Dal Khalsa said ‘Khalsa Panth’ could summon ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ at the time of crisis, but its venue should be Akal Takht.
“When the present incumbent loses its trust and credibility, in such situations ‘Khalsa Panth’ in its collective wisdom can gave a call to hold the Sikh congregation,” Dal Khalsa spokesman Kanwarpal Singh claimed.
However, the “appropriate” place to hold such historic event is Akal Takhat, he added.
He said their group along with Panch Pardani has already asked the organisers of November 10 event to shift the venue and reset the date to make the event wider representative and less controversial.
Meanwhile, the security at Amritsar and other places in the state had been heightened in view of Sarbat Khalsa. Akali leaders have appealed to the people to maintain peace at all costs.