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Sleazy video row: Akal Takht bars Chadha from social, religious, political events for 2 years

Chadha and his son Inderpreet Singh, who committed suicide, were booked for sexual harassment and criminal intimidation on the complaint of the female principal on December 28 last year.

punjab Updated: Jan 23, 2018 22:40 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Charanjit Singh Chadha,Akal Takht,Golden Temple
Former Chief Khalsa Diwan president Charanjit Singh Chadha (C) along with his family members on his way to appear before the Akal Takht at Golden Temple in Amritsar on Tuesday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

The Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, on Tuesday prohibited Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD) former president Charanjit Singh Chadha from addressing any religious, social, political and educational functions for two years.

Chadha, who was removed as the chief of the 115-year-old socio-religious organisation after his purported objectionable video with a female principal went viral on social media, appeared before the five Sikh clergy headed by Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh. He was accompanied by his wife Harbans Kaur, other family members and few office-bearers of the CKD.

With clarification over his alleged immoral act as per Sikh “maryada” (Sikh code of ethics), which does not allow any Sikh to indulge in illicit relationship, Chadha’s appearance lasted for around 45 minutes inside the secretariat of the Takht. However, the Sikh clergy took four hours in deciding Chadha’s fate.

Besides the Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, jathedars of Takht Patna Sahib Giani Iqbal Singh, Takht Damdama Sahib Giani Harpreet Singh, Takht Kesgarh Sahib Giani Raghbir Singh and Akal Takht head granthi Giani Malkit Singh were present in the meeting.

Unlike case of former Akali minister Sucha Singh Langah, who faced similar charges and was excommunicated from the Panth, the Sikh clergy went soft on Chadha arguing that his (Chadha) offence is lighter. “Chadha only molested the woman, so he has not been punished like him (Langah),” said Giani Gurbachan Singh. Besides, the ban imposed on him was not announced before the “sangat” (devotees) from the Takht, but was told to the media inside the meeting room of the Takht secretariat.

This happened despite the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), during its executive meet, passed a resolution to seek strict action against Chadha and many Sikh organisations as well as members of the CKD demanded strict punishment for him.

Apart from the ban, the Sikh clergy resolved to oversee Chadha activities in two years. “After two years, Chadha would send a written request to the Akal Takht for religious atonement,” said the Akal Takht jathedar.

Chadha and his son Inderpreet Singh, who was vice-president of the CKD, were booked for sexual harassment and criminal intimidation on the complaint of the female principal on December 28 last year. Inderpreet committed suicide on January 3.

On January 4, additional session judge, Amritsar, Amarjit Singh granted interim bail to Chadha till January 10. His bail was extended by another day as police didn’t present adequate record regarding the case.

On January 11, the court again extended Chadha’s interim bail and asked him to join investigation within 10 days. The probe is being conducted by a special investigation team led by IG (crime) LK Yadav.

JOHAR SINGH DECLARED ‘TANKHAIYA’

Once a supporter of parallel jathedars appointed during the radical ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ held in 2015 in Amritsar, Gurdwara chhota Ghallughara, Kahnuwan Chhamb (Gurdaspur) former chief Johar Singh also appeared before the Sikh clergy in case of an immoral act by his fellow office-bearer, Buta Singh, of the gurdwara management.

While Buta has already been excommunicated by Akal Takht, Johar Singh was declared ‘tankhaiya’ (guilty of religious misconduct) on Tuesday by the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs. The jathedars awarded him ‘tankhah’ (religious punishment) from Takht under which he was asked to clean utensils in langar, dust devotees’ shoes and listen to gurbani kirtan for a week at the Golden Temple, besides apologising for the offence at the Takht.

First Published: Jan 23, 2018 22:36 IST