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Only Sarbat Khalsa, not the SGPC, has powers to appoint or remove Jathedars: Sikh bodies

February 8, 2015 | By

Chandigarh: Three Sikh religious organisations on Friday (Feb. 06) held a meeting at Chandigarh and criticized the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) over its recent decision of forming a five-member committee to go into the terms of the working of Jathedars of Sikh Takhts.

Representatives of these organizations, including Institute of Sikh Studies, Khalsa Panchayat and International Sikh COnfederation took a plea that the post of Jathedar did not exist in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925 that was framed by colonial British rulers and adopted by the Indian state after transfer of power in 1947. Therefore it is not with in the powers of the SGPC to appoint or remove the Takht Jathedars.

Representatives of Sikh organizations during press conference at Chandigarh

Representatives of Sikh organizations during press conference at Chandigarh

Claiming that the move to appoint the committee to outline terms and conditions for service of Takht Jathedars had come at the behest of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) for the personal political gains of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, the Sikh organisations stated that the job of the SGPC was only to manage the Gurdwaras, and the Jathedars of the Takhts should only be appointed by calling the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation of the entire Sikh community), which they said the present stakeholders of the Sikh religious and political affairs had never convened.

“The SGPC renamed the “head ministers” mentioned in the Sikh Gurdwara Act as “Jathedars” to misuse the term, and assigned them the role deciding for the ‘Sikh Panth’, bypassing the tradition of ‘Sarbat Khalsa’,” reads joint statement issued by these organisations.

Lieutenant general Kartar Singh Gill of the International Sikh Confederation; Birender Kaur of the Institute of Sikh Studies; and Rajinder Singh Khalsa of the Khalsa Panchayat; besides SGPC member Hardeep Singh of SAS Nagar were among the people who signed Friday’s statement.

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