October 22, 2015 | By Parmjeet Singh
Amritsar: In clear indication of extreme degeneration, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Wednesday suspended ‘Panj Pyaras’ of Akal Takhat Sahib just hours after they summoned five Jathedars, including Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, for their role in granting pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a blasphemy case.
Announcing SGPC’s decision Avtar Singh Makkar maintained that Panj Pyaras move to summon Jathedars was aimed at causing dissension and division in the ‘Panth’.
“It is also against office rules of the gurdwara body”, he said.
Of the five ‘Panj Pyaras’, three have been asked to immediately report at the Sikh Mission office of the SGPC at Hapur in Uttar Pradesh, while two have been transferred to Kurukshetra in Haryana.
In a clear sign of an upheaval in the Gurdwara Management body, controlled by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Avtar Singh Makkar also ordered the suspension of SGPC secretaries Manjit Singh and Roop Singh, charging them with “failing to fulfil their Panthic duties”.
It is notable that Manjit Singh and Roop Singh had organized protest march against police firing on Sikhs in Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan.
SGPC chief also announced to suspended Sikh pracharaks who had publicly yesterday prevented Giani Gurbachan Singh from participating in a religious function saying that he should first resign from the position of Jathedar and seek apology from the Patnh before participating in any Sikh function. Those suspended include ‘hazoori ragis’ Bhai Karaj Singh and Bhai Harcharan Singh, ‘pracharak’ (preacher) Surjit Singh and supervisor Harpal Singh.
It is notable that Akal Takhat Panj Pyaras Bhai Satnam Singh Khanda, Bhai Tirlok Singh, Bhai Mangal Singh, Bhai Satnam Singh and Bhai Major Singh — met at the Akal Takht, offered an ‘ardas’, and then announced their decision to summon jathedars on October 23.
Talking to the Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) over phone, Bhai Satnam Singh Khalsa said that he had come to know about alleged suspension from some outside persons, and there was no official communication by the SGPC in this regard. He said that the Panj Pyaras would hold a meeting on Thursday (Oct. 22) to discuss the situation. He expressed firmness over their decision to summon Jatehdars.
“We have been asked by the ‘panth’ to act against Jatehdars’ in the capacity of Panj Pyaras. Many Sikhs have met us in the past few days to convey their concerns over the anti-panthic ‘faisla’ (decision) to first pardon the Sirsa dera, that was later withdrawn after it was rejected by the Sikh panth,” they said.
“The global community is of the view that the decision (of pardon) should have been taken in consultation with the Panth. So, to clarify your entire position, you are hereby directed to present yourself before the Akal Takht,” said the announcement, asserting that they (Panj Pyaras) have the authority to summon even the Takht jathedars in exceptional circumstances facing the ‘Panth’.
After the ‘Panj Pyaras’ announcement, Giani Gurbachan Singh refused to come out of his residence in the Darbar Sahib complex to give his reaction to the media. However, his emissary conveyed that he would send a written reply would be sent to the summons.
The concept of ‘Panj Pyaras’ was created by tenth Sikh master Guru Gobind Singh. He himself had to obey the decision of the ‘Panj Payaras’ who had ordered him to leave Chamkaur Di Garhi after the Moghul army laid seige to the town.
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