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SGPC forms advisory panel to ‘help’ Akal Takht take decisions

The move is being seen as a challenge to the authority of Akal Takht jathedar; Badungar says jathedar asked for the committee

punjab Updated: Sep 06, 2017 14:23 IST
Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times, Patiala
SGPC,Akal Takht,Patiala
SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar and (right) Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh.

In a move that could trigger controversy, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has formed an 11-member advisory committee to “help” Akal Takht take decisions on Panthic issues.

Now, complaints regarding Panthic issues will first be referred to this advisory committee, which will give its report to the Akal Takht jathedar, who will take the final decision. Presently, only jathedars of all five Takhts deliberate on the Sikh issues that come before the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs and supreme decision-making body for issuing edicts and directives to the Sikhs.

The move is being seen as a challenge to the authority of Akal Takht jathedar and is likely to influence the decision-making process.

Sources say the decision is fallout of the criticism the Akal Takht faced in giving pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh (for his act of imitating the tenth Sikh Guru) in September 2015.

However, SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Bandugar said “the committee was formed after Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh asked for it”. The advisory committee will work for the Akal Takht not for the SGPC, he added.

Badungar said the Akal Takht secretariat is flooded with complaints and demands, and for better understanding of the issues, the jathedar had written to the SGPC for the formation of such a committee. The jathedar’s letter was placed before the SGPC executive committee, which gave nod to the 11-member panel, he added.

“The committee includes Sikh educationists who will help the Akal Takht take quick decisions,” said Badungar.

The first meeting of the committee will be held on September 13 at Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra Institute of Advanced Studies in Sikhism, Bahadurgarh in Patiala district.

Professor Gurnek Singh (retd) of Punjabi University, Prabhjot Kaur from Chandigarh, Paramvir Singh of Punjabi University, Malkinder Kaur of Department of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Studies, Punjabi University, Inderjeet Singh Gogoani, Amritsar, Amarjit Singh from GNDU, Dr Jawant Singh, Harjit Singh, Sarabjeet Singh from Punjab Agricultural University, Bhagwan Singh Johal, Rajvinder Singh, editor Sachkhand, Hazur Sahib, are members of the advisory committee, while Sukhdev Singh, SGPC additional secretary, will work as a coordinator for panel.

Former SGPC chief secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta said the SGPC has no authority to form and announce a committee. The SGPC decision will undermine the authority of the Akal Takht. “I also remained adviser to the Akal Takht on various issues, but every time the Akal Takht jathedar issues directive in this regard not the SGPC,” he said, adding that it would have been better if the Akal Takht announces had announced its advisory committee by taking all factions together. The SGPC picks persons who are close to the Shiromani Akali Dal, he added.

First Published: Sep 06, 2017 14:22 IST