Makkar issues edict against apostate SGPC employees

Following criticism by Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to come down heavily on its employees who do not abide by the principles of Sikhism and are not “sabat soorat” Sikhs in appearance.
Updated on May 19, 2015 11:43 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | ByHARKIRAT SINGH, Amritsar

Following criticism by Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to come down heavily on its employees who do not abide by the principles of Sikhism and are not “sabat soorat” Sikhs in appearance.

SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar has warned of strict action against all such employees who fit the category of “patit” (apostate) Sikhs. The word “patit” is generally used by the SGPC for Sikhs who cut their hair short and clip their beard. However, at times, this description is also used for baptised (amritdhari) Sikhs, who consume liquor or indulge in other social evils. Makkar’s warning is not just limited to the SGPC employees but also covers their family members.

The warning by Makkar comes a few of days after the Akal Takht Jathedar stated that the “biggest threat to Sikhism was not from external sources but from within”. He had referred to the SGPC and claimed that it had failed to check violation of Sikh principles within the organisation. In this context, the Jathedar had also made a mention of the growing number of “patits” among the family members of SGPC employees.

The warning by Makkar is an open admittance of violation of Sikh principles within the gurdwara body. In his nine years in office, it is the first time that Makkar has made such a confession.


Saying that only the lucky ones get an opportunity to serve the SGPC, Makkar gave employees a month's time to imbibe the principles of Sikhism and become “sabat soorat” Sikhs. “Strict action will be taken against the SGPC employees who do not abide by the Sikh principles. The employees will also be responsible for the actions of their family members,” Makkar said in a statement issued here on Tuesday, without specifying the likely action to be taken.

The SGPC chief is well within his rights to proceed against SGPC employees as the Sikh Gurdwara Act specifies that to join the SGPC, one must be baptised and well versed in the Sikh religion. However, in the case of family members, there is no such binding.

To check the growing number of “patits”, especially among the youth, the SGPC has launched the “Sikhi Saroop Mera Asli Roop” campaign in schools, under which young boys and girls are made to take a pledge not to cut their hair or clip their beard.

Makkar said a campaign to check the “Sikhi saroop” of every SGPC employee and his family members would be launched. To begin with, families putting up in SGPC-owned residential colonies or in residences attached to SGPC-managed gurdwaras would be checked, he added.


The SGPC has decided that all newly appointed employees will go through a refresher course on Sikhism. The new recruits should have the knowledge of Sikh religion and history, said Makkar.

Doesn’t cover SGPC members

While Makkar's warning covers all SGPC employees and their family members, he refrained from issuing the “hukamnama” to SGPC members. Makkar was not available for comments despite repeated attempts.

However, SGPC additional secretary Daljit Singh Bedi said: “We cannot issue an order to SGPC members as most of them are members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) or of any other Akali faction. It is for the political party to frame rules for them.”

Bedi, however, said all members of the 15-member SGPC executive, including office-bearers, are “sabat soorat” Sikhs and so are their family members. He said all SGPC members are baptised. They have to be so as it is prerequisite to contest SGPC elections, he added.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • New Delhi, India - February 27, 2022: A view inside QBA Restaurant as the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has ordered to remove all the Covid-19 related restrictions and allowed the restaurants to run on hundred percent of their capacity at Connaught Place in New Delhi, India, on Sunday, February 27, 2022. (Photo by Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)

    Staff will suffer, feel restaurateurs; customers happy

    On Monday, the Central Consumer Protection Authority prohibited eateries from automatically or by default levying service charges on food bills. This decision has left restaurateurs feeling anxious as they think this isn't in the best interests of their staff. Divyam Oza, co-founder of Gosip-The Happy Bar, Viman Nagar, is extremely disappointed with the decision. Oza shares, “Service charge keeps employees motivated to work harder in such a huge, short-staffed environment.”

  • Incessant rainfall has increased the water levels of Beas, Parbati, Sarvari, Manalsu, Allain and other rivers and rivulets in the hill state. (HT Photo)

    MeT department issues orange alert for heavy rains in Himachal for two days

    Himachal Pradesh got scattered showers on Thursday with the meteorological department warning of heavy rain till July 11 and issuing an orange alert for Friday and Saturday even as rescuers searched for the four men who went missing after flashfloods destroyed three camping sites at Chonjh village in Kullu district on Wednesday.

  • Samta is a free bird after annulment of child marriage. (HT photo | Left to right- Samta, Kriti Bharti and Rekha (Samta’s friend))

    Jodhpur: Married in 2003, girl wins battle as court annuls child marriage

    She was married when was only 2.5 years old but her dreams to become a teacher gave her strength to break the shackles of child marriage. Now after 18 years, Samta is a free bird after annulment of child marriage by a family court in Jodhpur. She was married in 2003 to a young man from Osian tehsil, when she was two-and-a-half years old.

  • A 24-year-old biker was found dead after a trailer rams into him in Bhiwandi on Wednesday night. (HT FILE PHOTO)

    24-year-old biker dead after trailer rams into him in Bhiwandi

    A 24-year-old biker was mowed down by a trailer at Mankoli in Bhiwandi on Wednesday night. The incident occurred near the bridge at Mankoli Naka when Shah was on his way to Thane. A passer-by informed the police about the incident. The police admitted Shah to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead before arrival.

  • Rescue operations in Dakshina Kannada after a landslide. (Credit: ANI)

    'Precautions taken', says CM Bommai after landslide in Dakshina Kannada

    Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday said he spoke to district deputy commissioners regarding the torrential rains, especially in coastal districts, and assured that all necessary precautions had been taken. The India Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rain along the Karnataka coast - in Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada. Schools and colleges in Alur, Arakalagud and Sakleshpura also remained shut. The state's revenue minister R Ashoka, who is in Kodagu district has also distributed relief cheques to those affected.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, July 07, 2022