Sikh priests hold protest at Golden Temple complex, demand pay hike
An SGPC executive member, however, regretted the protest at the shrine. “If paathis had some issues, they should have approached the SGPC instead of holding a protest,” he said.punjab Updated: Jul 31, 2017 20:42 IST
More than a 100 “paathis” (Sikh priests) who perform “akhand path” at the Golden Temple, staged a protest against the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Monday seeking hike in their salaries.
The “paathis” gathered near the Akal Takht and raised slogans against the SGPC alleging that their demands were repeatedly being ignored by the management. As a result no “akhand path” (continuous recitation of sacred religious texts of Sikhism) was held at the shrine.
The agitating “paathis” sat in the Golden Temple “parikrama” and demanded that offering given to them for each “path” should be raised from Rs 600 to Rs 1,000. They also demanded medical and educational facilities equivalent to that given to SGPC permanent employees. The protesters sought interest against the Rs 7,500 security deposit with the SGPC.
Talking to HT, SGPC executive member Ram Singh said: “SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar had asked me to hold talks with the paathis and the offering to them per path has been increased to Rs 800 from Rs 600. We will also provide medical insurance to them. However, it’s not possible to give all facilities to them as enjoyed by permanent employees.”
The SGPC executive member, however, regretted the protest at the shrine. “If paathis had some issues, they should have approached the SGPC instead of holding a protest,” he said.
The “paathis” later expressed satisfaction over the increase in the offering and decided to resume work.
An “akand path” by former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife Union minister Harsimrat Badal was conducted by a “granthi” instead of a “paathi”.
“The protest on the premises the Golden Temple is unfortunate. People come here with humility and such an agitation is condemnable,” said Harsimrat.