Rights body accuses SGPC of hiding damage to Guru Granth Sahib saroops
The apex gurdwara management committee is already under fire for missing of rare manuscripts in the Sikh Reference LibraryUpdated: Jun 26, 2020, 23:17 IST
A non-government human rights organisation has accused the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) of hiding the damage caused by fire in 2016 to scores of saroops (copies) of the Guru Granth Sahib at Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib, Amritsar, where these saroops are printed.
The apex gurdwara management committee is already under fire for missing of rare manuscripts in the Sikh Reference Library.
Citing its findings in a letter written to the Punjab chief secretary, a copy of which was also sent to the Akal Takht Jathedar, the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) said, “It has been found in the gurdwara body record that Guru Granth Sahib printing house is short of 267 holy saroops. This came to the fore when an employee posted there revealed all that happened during the fire incident. We have recorded his statement.”
“As many as 80 saroops were burnt. Others were damaged with the water of fire tenders on May 19, 2016. Probe of this incident should have been conducted because sacrilege incidents were taking place in Punjab then. Instead of investigating it, the then SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar and senior officials opted for cremating the saroops which get wet with water, at Goindwal Sahib secretly. No record was maintained of this entire episode so that nobody gets any clue of what happened. No CCTV footage was taken in record, nor was any forensic expert called for examination,” PHRO investigator Sarabjit Singh Verka.
The gurdwara committee hid the incident on directions of the leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which controls it and was in power at that time in Punjab, the rights body claimed.
“Actually, the SAD-BJP government was under fire due to sacrilege incidents took place at village Bargari and Burj Jawahar Singh Wala in Faridkot district. In order to prevent more criticism ahead of the 2017 assembly elections, the SAD leaders ordered the SGPC to keep the matter under wraps,” reads the letter that demands thorough and fair enquiry of this incident.
‘If allegations proved to be true, responsible persons will not be spared’
SGPC spokesperson Kulwinder Singh Ramdas said, “We have received no copy of this. Still, we will get this matter probed. If the allegations are proved to be true, those responsible will not be spared.”
SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal could not be contacted for comments.