Sikh hardliners, SGPC task force clash at Golden Temple in Amritsar
When the parallel jathedars and their supporters attempted to enter the Akal Takht for a meeting, the supported were stopped at the Golden Temple gate and were not allowed to enter.Updated: Oct 12, 2017 21:43 IST
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Three people were injured in a clash between members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) task force and radical groups at the entrance plaza of the Golden Temple complex here on Thursday.
The clash took place when members of the SGPC task force forcibly evicted Master Johar Singh, president of the managing committee of Chhota Ghallughara Gurdwara at Qadian in Gurdaspur district, from the Akal Takht. Brandishing swords, supporters of parallel jathedars, who were designated at the radicals’ Sarbat Khalsa held in 2015, clashed with task force members.
Johar Singh had come to the Akal Takht to appear before the parallel jathedars, who had summoned him to clarify his stand against allegations of involvement of a member of the gurdwara management, Buta Singh, in immoral activities. On August 1, Buta was allegedly caught with a woman in a compromising position at the gurdwara. Being the head of the management committee, Johar Singh was summoned to explain why he did not take action against his colleague.
This is for the second time that the parallel jathedars —Dhian Singh Mand (Akal Takht), Amrik Singh Ajnala (Takht Kesgarh Sahib) and Baljit Singh Daduwal (Takht Damdama Sahib) — tried to outdo those holding these posts officially.
The parallel jathedars entered the Akal Takht around 1pm to hold the meeting, however, their supporters, who are members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and United Akali Dal (UAD), were stopped by the members of SGPC task force to enter the complex. This led to a clash and police had to intervene as both sides attacked each other with swords, sticks and other traditional weapons.
Those injured in the clash included Satnam Singh Manawa of the United Akali Dal, SGPC additional secretary Bijay Singh and task force in-charge Amrik Singh.
“This unfortunate that Sikhs were not allowed entry to Sri Darbar Sahib. This has been done on the direction of SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar. We also demand police action against the SGPC employees who attacked the sangat,” said Dhian Singh Mand.
SGPC secretary Roop Singh said: “Doors of the Darbar Sahib are open to all. But nobody can be allowed to undermine the sanctity of the holy place and disturb its spiritual environment.”
JOHAR SINGH DECLARED TANKHAIYA
Meanwhile, Johar Singh accused the SGPC employees of manhandling him. “I was sitting inside the Akal Takht and was reciting hymns, but the SGPC employees forced me out to ensure that I don’t appear before the jathedars,” he said.
Trashing the allegations, Golden Temple manager Sulakhan Singh said the SGPC staff did not use force against anybody. “They did their duty to maintain the sanctity of the Akal Takht,” he said.
Later, the parallel jathedars declared Johar Singh as a “tankhaiya” (guilty of religious misconduct). Besides removing him from the headship the gurdwara management committee of Gurdaspur shrine, the parallel jathedars directed him to listen to kirtan at the Golden Temple sanctum sanctorum, besides cleaning of devotees’ shoes, cleaning utensils at langar for seven days, besides holding an akhand path.
JAGIR KAUR SUMMONED
The parallel jathedars also summoned former SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur, who is facing charges of killing her daughter and foeticide, at Akal Takht. “Though courts have awarded punishment to her, still she holds key position in the religious body (SGPC). Keeping in view of religious sentiments of the Sikhs, Jagir Kaur is directed to appear at the Akal Takht on November 7 to present her case,” read the order issued by parallel jathedars.
(The story has been updated)
First Published: Oct 12, 2017 14:58 IST