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Giani Harpreet Singh is Akal Takht acting jathedar

Gobind Singh Longowal said Giani Harpreet Singh will remain on the post till permanent jathedar is appointed.

punjab Updated: Oct 23, 2018 09:55 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Giani Harpreet Singh,Akal Takht,jathedar
Giani Harpreet Singh. (HT File)

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) executive on Monday appointed young Sikh scholar Giani Harpreet Singh, 45, as the acting jathedar of Akal Takht — the highest temporal seat of Sikhism. Giani Harpreet Singh is pursuing PhD from Punjabi University, Patiala.

Giani Harpreet Singh, who was serving as the jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, another Sikh temporal seat situated at Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda), has been given the additional charge of the post till the permanent jathedar is appointed, said SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal, who chaired the executive meeting at the Teja Singh Samundri Hall on Monday.

Prior to this, the executive committee accepted the resignation of Giani Gurbachan Singh. He had resigned on October 18 from the post citing health issues and age factor. He was under fire from the Sikh community for pardoning Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in 2015 in a blasphemy case after the latter appeared in a robe similar to that of Guru Gobind Singh. However, the jathedar had to revoke the pardon after facing a backlash from the Panth.

The issue of pardon came to forefront again after the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report on sacrilege incidents was tabled in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in the last week of August. The report had pointed out the role of Badals (Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal) in pressuring the jathedar to grant pardon to the dera head.

Longowal said the permanent jathedar will be appointed after consulting the Sikh organisation. He said the installation ceremony will be held at the Takht and hoped that Giani Harpreet Singh, as acting jathedar, will work for ‘chardi kala’ (high spirit) of the community.

Commenting on the appointment, Amrik Singh Shahpur, who is a representative of the opposition in the executive committee, said, “The SGPC has appointed the acting jathedar as no person of good reputation in the Panth is ready to be the permanent jathedar as his conscience doesn’t allow him to work under pressure of Badals. But I remind the SGPC’s 2000 resolution on setting norms for appointment of Takht jathedars.”

Giani Harpreet Singh is pursuing the PhD from department of religious studies, Punjabi University. “As a PhD scholar in our department, he is researching on the topic ‘Concept of ultimate truth in holy Quran and Guru Granth Sahib’. Besides, he has translated the Quran into Punjabi. Although, we have already Punjabi translation of Quran, his translation is unique as it is in Punjabi idiom and looks like original texts,” said Gurmeet Singh Sidhu, head of the department.

First Published: Oct 22, 2018 15:05 IST