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Amid demand for his resignation, Akal Takht jathedar goes incommunicado

As the Congress has pushed Akali Dal to the wall over Ranjit Singh Commission report, Akali Dal stalwarts are now out countering the ruling party.

punjab Updated: Sep 05, 2018 09:20 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Akal Takht,Akal Takht jathedar,Dera Sacha Sauda
Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh(HT File )

Amid growing demand for his resignation over pardoning Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim in blasphemy case and for taking other controversial decisions, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh has gone incommunicado.

As the Congress has pushed Akali Dal to the wall over Ranjit Singh Commission report, Akali Dal stalwarts are now out countering the ruling party.

Interacting with the media on Sunday, Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa sought resignation of Giani Gurbachan Singh as Takht jathedar, holding him fully responsible for exonerating Gurmeet Ram Rahim. He even urged the SGPC to remove him from the post.

This is for the first time that a senior Akali leader spoke openly against the jathedar over his decisions, which was later revoked after facing opposition from Sikh bodies in September 2015.

Now, when his role is again under question ever since Ranjit Singh Commission report on sacrilege cases was made public, Giani Gurbachan Singh is nowhere to present his side. He was available till August 28 and his phone is switched off since.

While speaking to HT, Gurbachan Singh, assistant secretary to the high priest in Takht secretariat, said he (jathedar) is out of station and even he could not contact with him over phone. Satinder Pal Singh, personal assistant to the jathedar, said he would come back on September 10.

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal was not available for a comment. Citing his reliable sources, Gurpreet Singh Sahota, a Canada-based journalist, had on Auguest 31 posted on Facebook that the jathedar was in Abbotsford, Canada, and was staying with the relatives of a Majha-based Akali leader.

Some posts were also seen on the social media, appealing the jathedar to leave Canada as soon as possible, saying any untoward incident involving him would be a disrespect of the Akal Takht.

Meanwhile, Giani Gurmukh Singh, who was reinstated as head granthi of Akal Takht on August 3, too, is keeping himself aloof. Being the acting jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, he was among the five Sikh clergymen who granted pardon to the dera chief in 2015.

Later, he had alleged that the then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal pressured them to pardon dera chief. What followed was his removal as acting jatehdar and head granthi.

First Published: Sep 05, 2018 09:20 IST