Akal Takht excommunicates New Zealand-based Sikh radio host for derogatory comments
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Akal Takht excommunicates New Zealand-based Sikh radio host for derogatory comments

The charges against the radio host relate to twisting Sikh history, concepts, and religious texts.

punjab Updated: Jun 15, 2018 10:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Akal Takht,Sikhs,Amritsar
Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh reading out the resolution from Akal Takht, in Amritsar.(HT Photo)

The Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs, on Thursday excommunicated New Zealand-based Radio Virsa host, Harnek Singh Neki, over alleged distortion of Sikh history and derogatory comments on Sikh Gurus and present leaders of the community.

Excommunication means expelling someone from the socio-religious order of the Sikhs as a larger community. The five head priests led by the Akal Takht jathedar pronounce such an order.

Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh had summoned Neki thrice for his clarification on the allegations, but he failed to make an appearance. “He turned defiant to the Takht’s order owing to arrogance,” reads the resolution that the Sikh clergy passed against him during the meeting.

Takht Kesgarh Sahib jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh, Takht Patna Sahib jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh, Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh and Akal Takht head granthi Giani Malkeet Singh attended the meeting. The charges against the radio host related to twisting Sikh history, concepts, and religious texts.

In recent times, former Akali minister Sucha Singh Langah and producer of controversial movie ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’ Harinder Singh Sikka, were also excommunicated.

The Sikh clergy has also directed followers to shun any kind of religious, political and social relations with Neki. The followers have also been asked to take legal measures to shut operations of the radio channel in New Zealand.

‘Facilitate granthis’

Apart from the excommunication, the jathedar has directed managements of gurdwaras to not have blaring loudspeakers and keep the sound within the premises. He has also asked them to facilitate granthis (Sikh priests) with homes and handsome wages to improve their economic condition. He added a committee would also be formed to stop Akhand Path at tombs, citing it as sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Replying to query on a drive run by US-based separatist group, ‘Sikhs For Justice’, to garner support for ‘Punjab referendum 2020’, the Akal Takht jathedar said, “I am not aware of any such campaign.” When questioned on the action being taken against Dera Sacha Sauda followers, he was evasive. “Investigation takes time,” he said, when questioned on why were the arrests not made during the SAD-BJP regime.

He blamed the frequent instances of sacrilege on the negligence of managements of gurdwaras and granthis concerned. He hailed the efforts of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for its ‘One Village, One Gurdwara’ drive.

First Published: Jun 14, 2018 17:24 IST