The Panthic Talmel Sangthan led by former Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar, Giani Kewal Singh, has squarely blamed the Sikh head priests, including Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh for the outrage and anger being exhibited by the Sikh community against them for their ‘irresponsible conduct’ while handling the sensitive Dera Sacha Sauda head issue.
“The Sikhs are not just angry over the sacrilege incidents, which are the handiwork of anti-panthic forces, but they are equally angry over the conduct of our jathedars in the dera case. Their anger stems from the fact that those who were supposed to be the protectors of our Takhts, have failed to uphold the honour and dignity of the Takhts,” Giani Kewal Singh said in a statement issued here on Thursday.
The statement was issued after members of the Sangthan held a prayer meeting at the base of the Akal Takht for the ‘chardi kala’ (betterment) of the ‘panth’. These prayer meetings, which will also include holding discussions on vital ‘panthic’ issues and problems, will continue for the next six days at the same venue.
In the statement, Giani Kewal Singh pointed out that the sacrilege incidents of Guru Granth Sahib have not only shattered the religious feelings of Sikhs, but have also compelled Sikh intellectuals to think over the causes of frequent violation of Sikh code of conduct by the Sikh priests. “The community strongly favours finding a permanent solution to issues related to the supremacy of the Akal Takht and that of the ‘Panj Pyaras (five beloved ones of the guru),” he added while pointing to the manner in which the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) suspended the ‘Panj Pyaras’ who had taken the decision to summon the jathedars of the Takhts who were guilty of pardoning dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
“To protect and promote their own vested interests Sikh politicians have time and again violated the ‘maryada’ (tenets) of the Akal Takht through their henchmen -- the jathedars,” Kewal Singh said, while deliberating on the issue with members of his organisation and with the ‘sangat’ (devotees) that had come to pay obeisance at the Harmandir Sahib and had stopped by to take part in the prayer meeting and the discussions.
Discussing the issue with some of the devotees who expressed disgust over the manner in which the Badals and some other Akali leaders were controlling the jathedars and the SGPC, Talmel Sangthan member Jaswinder Singh Advocate said the principles of the Akal Takht explicitly spelled out that politics would not guide the religious affairs of the Sikhs. “It will be the reverse, with politics being guided by religion,” he added.
“However, the unholy nexus between Sikh politicians and the head priests has caused irreparable damage to Sikh institutions and has done considerable damage to the community,” Jaswinder added during the discussions.
The Sangthan passed a number of resolutions during the meeting, including the demand for strengthening institutions like the Akal Takht, ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ and the ‘Panj Payaras’. “There should be no political control over these institutions,” the resolution added.
Another resolution called for the revival of the old tradition of the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (representative congregation of Sikh bodies) for taking important religious decisions.
A resolution also called for formulating the system of appointment of ‘sewadars’ (jathedars) of the Takhts and defining their role according to Sikh principles. The resolution noted that the current system was faulty as under this, jathedars could function in an impartial manner and were often dictated terms by their appointing body, the SGPC.