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SGPC to take a call on new Akal Takht jathedar today

Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh frontrunner for the top post

punjab Updated: Oct 22, 2018 11:28 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
SGPC,Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee,Akal Takht
Giani Harpeet Singh(HT File)

Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib Giani Harpreet Singh has emerged as the frontrunner for the post of acting jathedar of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs.

The name of Takht Kesgarh Sahib jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh is also doing the rounds. Earlier a head granthi at the Golden Temple, Giani Raghbir Singh was made the head Takht Kesgarh Sahib last year after the death of Giani Mal Singh.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which appoints the Sikh clergy (jathedars), would meet on Monday to discuss on the fate of Giani Gurbachan Singh, who tendered his resignation on October 18 citing health issues. The SGPC will also appoint the new jathedar.

In the resignation letter addressed to SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal, Giani Gurbachan Singh apologised to the ‘Panth’ for granting pardon to dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim for imitating Guru Gobind Singh.

Giani Harpreet Singh, 45, who hails from Gidderbaha in Muktsar, is pursuing his PhD in comparative study of religious teachings of Quran and Guru Granth Sahib from Punjabi University.

Discussions are on in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the SGPC to choose a fresh face for the top post. A former office-bearer of the SGPC said a consensus was building in Giani Harpreet Singh’s favour. “Though it is a practice to appoint Takht Kesgarh Sahib jathedar as the acting jathedar of the Akal Takht, this time the SGPC members might favour Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar for the top post,” he said.

The name of former Punjab subordinate staff selection board chairman Santa Singh Umedpur was also discussed for the post. Initially, the SGPC shortlisted the names of former SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar and former vice-chancellor of Punjabi University Jaspal Singh for the top post considering their educational background and their understanding of the intricacies of the Sikh religion. But both having held administrative posts in the past, were ruled out at a later stage.

Speaking on Giani Harpreet Singh’s candidature, Badungar said: “The young jathedar might not be as experienced as others, but he has a clean image and is non-controversial. “First as a head granthi in Darbar Sahib in Muktsar and then as the Takht Damdama Sahib head, his functioning has been satisfactory,” said Badungar.

First Published: Oct 22, 2018 11:28 IST