Dera ‘blasphemy’ pardon: Akal Takht not bound to give any record to govt, says jathedar
As per media reports, the one-man commission to probe the sacrilege episode in Bargari village of Faridkot district, has summoned SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar on October 9punjab Updated: Sep 29, 2017 09:56 IST
Reacting to Justice Ranjit Singh Commission’s move of seeking the record pertaining to the later-revoked pardon granted in a case of “blasphemy” to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on Thursday said the temporal seat is not bound to give any record to the government or any agency.
As per media reports later confirmed by sources in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the one-man commission of the retired judge, constituted by the Congress government to probe the sacrilege episode in Bargari village of Faridkot district, has summoned SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar on October 9. For, the 2015 pardon to the dera chief for his 2007 act of dressing as Guru Gobind Singh — and the withdrawal of pardon under community pressure — has emerged as a factor in the case.
Sources said the summons letter mentions SGPC and the Akal Takht “office”, though the record has not been sought directly from the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs keeping in view its sanctity.
“Akal Takht cannot give any record to government. Yes, if the SGPC, which is the elected body of Sikhs, needs some record, we can provide it,” the jathdar told HT. SGPC secretary Roop Singh, when asked whether they are giving the record, said, “It is related to Akal Takht Sahib, and the matter comes under the jurisdiction of the jathedar. We cannot decide on this.”
To discuss the future course of action, the SGPC has advanced its executive meet, which was slated for October 3, to September 30 in Patiala. The executive members were intimated about the meeting over phone on Thursday evening, but not told about any specific reasons behind conducting it earlier. Sources said the SGPC is consulting lawyers and experts as to how the commission’s move can be countered. Some officials said the SGPC comes under the Centre, not the state government.
It is worth mentioning here that the apology letter said to have been sent by the dera head — who was sentenced to 20 years in jail last month in a rape case — has spawned a mystery. Purported contents of his letter to the Takht, and the resolution passed by the Sikh clergy led by the jathedar to pardon him in September 2015, were reported in the media, but now questions remain.
Former Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Giani Gurmukh Singh, who was also among the Sikh clergy then, has demanded a probe to find some key answers. He had alleged that the then CM Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal gave the original letter, which was written in Hindi, to them in Chandigarh. Gurmukh was sacked from the headship after making the allegations against the Badals, but he maintained that he did not know who took the letter to the Akal Takht and who produced it in Punjabi.