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Patna Sahib clash – Both sides shake hands; Jan. 07 episode once again exposed vulnerable state of Takhts’ affairs

January 11, 2014 | By

Patna Sahib, Bihar (January 11, 2014): The controversy between two opponent factions over appointment of new additional Jathedar and suspension of current Jathedar of Takhat Sri Harmandar Sahib, Patna Sahib has reportedly been resolved with both the parties – Giani Iqbal Singh and the Prabandhak (management) Committee – deciding to bury the hatchet on Jan. 10.

“While Jathedar Iqbal Singh and his son withdrew cases against all the five members of prabandhak committee, the committee, in turn, withdrew the suspension of jathedar, his son and another employee” Times of India (TOI) has reported.

Patna Sahib incident (7 January 2014)

As per information [t]he compromise was reached following the efforts of the five-member committee of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Commiittee (SGPC) that reached Patna Sahib on Jan. 08, a day after the violent clash between two groups.

Prabandhak committee general secretary Charanjeet Singh said, “We have revoked the suspension of jathedar Iqbal Singh, his son Gurprasad Singh and another employee Gurdayal Singh,” However, it was decided to maintain status quo on the appointment of additional head granti Gyani Pratap Singh, that was opposed by the incumbent jathedar and his son. Though Gyani Pratap Singh will get the same salary as the jathedar, he will remain junior to him, said the committee’s senior vice-president R S Jeet.

“Sources said the complaint that the jathedar does not give adequate time to Takhat Sahib affairs was also heard by the SGPC team and Iqbal Singh promised to devote more time”, reports TOI.

In turn, jathedar’s son Gurprasad Singh withdrew all cases filed against the five members of the prabandhak committee. An attempt to murder charge, among others, was levelled against them. They had on January 09 “barred” the prabandhak committee from taking decision on any religious matter and had asked district and sessions judge to appoint acting members of the committee for discharge routine works.

“We were angry because an important decision like appointment of additional head granthi was taken without taking us and other religious heads of Takhat Sahib into confidence. Now the Prabandhak Committee has agreed to inform us before taking any such decision,” said Gurprasad Singh, adding, “We have withdrawn our complaints against the prabandhak committee, so that we all can work together for 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in 2017.”

Sources said the SGPC team was very angry with the way the two groups of Sikhs openly crossed swords at Takhat Sahib on the Parkash Gurpurb of Guru Gobind Singh on January 07. It was unhappy with the way Giani Iqbal Singh’s son raised objection to the appointment of a additional Jathedar, that finally led to a brawl. It also reprimanded the Prabandhak Committee of the Takhat Sahib for not taking the Giani Iqbal Singh into confidence before announcing the name of an additional Jathedar.

It is notable that this is not the first time that Takht Jathedars, their appointment, removal or activities were formed epicentre of serious controversies. This episode has once again exposed the internal weaknesses of system surrounding appointment, removal and working of Jathedars of Sikh Takhts. There is dire need to adopt certain norms regarding appointment, removal and working of Jathedars to maintain respect for Jathedar’s position and institution of Takht Shaibs.

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