After HT highlighted the reactions of various individuals and groups pertaining to the installation of the portrait of former Budha Dal Nihang Baba Santa Singh in the Sikh Central Museum of the Golden Temple, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) moved backwards and decided against its installation, at least for the time being.
SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar on Wednesday lifted the veil from the portraits of Mahant Tirath Singh, a prominent Sikh preacher, and Baba Bachittar Singh, a former Jathedar of Takht Keshgarh Sahib, at the museum. However, there was no portrait of the controversial former Nihang chief to be seen.
The SGPC executive, at its meeting on May 3 at Anandpur Sahib, had given the go-ahead to installing the portraits of the three at the museum. However, the SGPC seems to have retraced its steps in the case of Santa Singh following criticism from certain quarters and after HT on Tuesday highlighted these views.
When quizzed on the issue, Makkar told the media, "The May-3 decision of the executive will be reviewed."
Radical group Dal Khalsa on Monday had shot off a letter to Makkar, asking him to re-consider the decision while former SGPC secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta sought to know from Makkar the achievements of Santa Singh and the rationale behind the decision as the Nihang chief despite his apology before the Akal Takht could not be considered for any form of honour as he had re-built the Akal Takht in 1984 on the orders of the then Indira Gandhi government.
SGPC member Kiranjot Kaur, while welcoming the decision of the SGPC, told HT that if people had objections, it was advisable to review the decisions taken in haste. She had said that before taking such decisions, the executive should initiate a public discussion so as to get a wider viewpoint of the members of the community.
Former SGPC member Jaswinder Singh Advocate who, too, had expressed his opposition, welcomed the decision.
Dal Khalsa spokesman Kawarpal Singh said, "We hope better sense will prevail and the SGPC will see reason and not take any decision to install the portrait of any controversial person at the museum."
Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh Dhuma also had expressed his opposition to the installation of the portrait, while Karnail Singh Panjoli, who is a member of the executive and was present at the Anandpur Sahib meeting, had favoured that a committee be formed for deciding such issues.