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Dera chief ‘pardon’: SGPC rejects probe panel summons, terms it Cong govt’s puppet

The commission earlier this month sent summons to the SGPC and the secretariat of Akal Takht, the highest Sikh temporal seat, to submit documents related to pardoning of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a 2007 case of alleged blasphemy, and about the expenses involved in issuing advertisements related to the 2015 pardon that had later been withdrawn.

punjab Updated: Sep 30, 2017 20:31 IST
Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times, Patiala
SGPC,Dera Sacha Sauda,Gurmeet Ram Rahim
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Kirpal Singh Badungar (HT File Photo)

Terming the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission a “puppet” of the Punjab government, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Saturday said that neither the premier Sikh organisation’s president, Kirpal Singh Badungar, nor any Akal Takht representative will appear before it despite having been summoned.

The Congress government had set up the one-man commission of the former high court judge to investigate all cases of sacrilege reported in Punjab, including three of Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot district in 2015 and the Behbal Kalan firing incident. The new government had rejected the report of the Zora Singh Commission,which had been appointed by the SAD-BJP regime.

The commission earlier this month sent summons to the SGPC and the secretariat of Akal Takht, the highest Sikh temporal seat, to submit documents related to pardoning of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a 2007 case of alleged blasphemy, and about the expenses involved in issuing advertisements related to the 2015 pardon that had later been withdrawn.

On Saturday, in an emergent meeting of the SGPC executive chaired by Badungar, the members said the commission is “overstepping jurisdiction”, which will “not be tolerated”, as the SGPC and the Takht are “supreme institution of Sikhs”.

Badungar said, “It is highly condemnable that the commission has summoned the SGPC president and the Takht jathedar to appear before it with the record. The executive has passed a resolution to condemn this move and rejected the commission, which is nothing but a puppet of the Congress government.”

He added, “After Operation Bluestar, Congress government is again directly interfering in Sikh affairs and challenging the Akal Takht and SGPC . The summoning is against the traditions, maryada (code of ethics) and prestige of Sikh institutions.” He said the SGPC has decided not to appear before the commission nor submit any documents.

Meanwhile, Daljit Singh Cheema, spokesperson of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) that controls the elected SGPC, termed its decision as “the right move”.

First Published: Sep 30, 2017 20:31 IST