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Jagir Kaur uses SGPC shoulders to shoot at parallel jathedars

Calls meeting of SGPC members, who urge Akal Takht to punish ‘parallel clergy’ that summoned her in connection with forced abortion of her daughter, who was later murdered.

punjab Updated: Oct 17, 2017 12:12 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Jagir Kaur,SGPC,parallel jathedars
Gurdwara Chhota Ghallughara chief Johar Singh performing sewa outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Sunday. (Sameer Sehgal /HT)

To counter parallel “jathedars” who summoned her on the basis of a complaint lodged by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira, former SGPC president and incumbent member Bibi Jagir Kaur on Sunday called a meeting of SGPC members who demanded strict action against the “clergy” appointed by radicals.

The meeting, being considered as a show of strength by Jagir Kaur, was organised at Bhai Gurdas Hall near the Golden Temple here. However, SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar skipped the meeting.

Jagir Kaur — who is also president of the women wing the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) — was summoned by parallel “jathedars” on the charges of forced abortion of her daughter, who was murdered later.

During Sunday’s meeting of SGPC members, a resolution was passed to stop “sacrilegious” activities of the “parallel clergy” appointed at the Sarbat Khalsa (congregation of Sikhs) held by radicals in 2015.

Also read | If rape accused Langah excommunicated, why not Jagir Kaur? Jathedar says will discuss ‘old matter’

‘Dummy jathedars have no right to summon me’

Terming the parallel “clergy” as “dummy jathedars”, Jagir Kaur said they have no right to summon her, nor does she recognise them as jathedars. “The way Sikh maryada is being violated by these so-called jathedars is a matter of serious concern. They are working to damage Sikh institutions at the behest of the ruling Congress party and other anti-panthic forces,” she said while addressing the gathering.

She added, “By repeatedly indulging in violent clashes outside the sanctum sanctorum, they have hurt the Sikh sentiments. Now, the situation has reached a boiling point and any further nuisance cannot be tolerated”.

Terming the parallel ‘clergy’ as ‘dummy jathedars’, Jagir Kaur said they have no right to summon her, nor does she recognise them as jathedars.

The SGPC members later took out a march from the Bhai Gurdas hall to the Akal Takht and handed over a complaint against parallel clergy to Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh.

The members appealed to the jathedar take serious note of these “anti-Panthic” activities and punish the “dummy jathedars” as per Sikh traditions without any delay.

The jathedar assured them that an appropriate action would be taken after Bandi Chhod Diwas (Diwali).

To a query on the charges levelled by Khaira in his complaint, Bibi Jagir Kaur said she would give a clarification whenever the Akal Takht asks her to do so. Notably, Khaira has demanded that Jagir Kaur be excommunicated by the Akal Takht, on the lines of action against former Akali minister Sucha Singh Langah, who was excommunicated after being booked in a rape case.

Key member absent

Besides Badungar, other key SGPC members, including vice-president Buta Singh, former president Avtar Singh Makkar and executive member Gurcharan Singh Grewal, also skipped the meeting.

Though SGPC officials claimed that more than 65 members attended the meeting to extend their solidarity with Jagir Kaur, sources said the number of members was not more than 35. Meanwhile, a large number of SAD workers were also present in the meeting.

Rein in parallel ‘jathedars’: Akal Takht to SGPC, govt

Ahead of Diwali, which is celebrated at the Golden Temple as ‘Bandi Chhod Diwas’, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on Sunday called on the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Punjab government to rein in parallel “jathedars”, saying they can spoil the atmosphere at the shrine during the festival.

Suspecting that parallel “jathedars” may reach the shrine again this year to read out their message, the jathedar said, “Strict directions are issued to the SGPC as well as the Punjab government to maintain peace and calm at the shrine during the (Diwali) festival”.

“If the so-called jathedars vitiate atmosphere at Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) or any untoward incident takes place here, the SGPC and the Punjab government will be responsible”, he added.

As per Sikh traditions, the Akal Takht jathedar reads out a ‘sandesh’ (message) to the community on Diwali from the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs. However, parallel “jathedars” have also been attempting to read out their message ever since they were appointed by the radicals in 2015.

On Diwali in 2015, parallel “jathedar” of Akal Takht Dhian Singh Mand succeeded in reading out his message at the Akal Takht, despite unprecedented restrictions imposed by the police and the SGPC task force. However, the police foiled his similar bid last year, by detaining him.

(Gurdwara Chhota Ghallughara chief Johar Singh was inadvertently described as ‘former jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib’ in stories published on October 15. The error is regretted.)

First Published: Oct 16, 2017 12:14 IST