Amid a raging debate over taking the ‘bir’ (copy) of the Guru Granth Sahib to protest sites, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has alleged that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee was using the holy book to help Shiromani Akali Dal occupy a portion of the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj in Delhi.
Both the SGPC and the Akali Dal had spoken against taking the holy book to the protest sites with SAD chief Sukhbir Badal accusing the self styled Radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh of committing-a “sacrilege” at Ajnala by trying to use “Guru Granth Sahib as a shield for selfish motives and by taking the sacred scripture to a police station” last month.
Following the incident Giani Harpreet Singh, the Jathedar of Akal Takht — the highest temporal seat of Sikhs — had formed a 16-member subcommittee to decide if the Guru Granth Sahib can be taken to protest sites, demonstrations and places where there is apprehension that the holy book can be disrespected.
Subcommittee coordinator Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad handed over the sealed report to the Jathedar on Sunday. Sources said that most of the members on panel have recommended against taking the holy book to protest sites. Peer Mohammad, however, declined to share information about the report, saying it was the prerogative of the Jathedar.
Peer Mohammad said he and his panel members met academics, scholars and leaders of religious outfits, including Nihang Singh organisation sects such as Dasmesh Tarna Dal, Damdami Taksal, Sikh Missionary College – Rupnagar, Chief Khalsa Diwan, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle – Ludhiana and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
An Akal Takht secretariat official said a decision on the issue will be announced after the ‘Panj Singh Sahiban’ or five Sikh high priests discuss the report.
Meanwhile, the DSGMC has accused the SGPC of using the Guru Granth Sahib help Akali Dal to maintain the possession on a portion of Gurdwara Rakab Ganj.
Talking to The Indian Express, DSGMC member Bhupinder Singh Bhullar said, “SAD lost its majority in the DSGMC House in January 21, 2022. Before that, Akali Dal was running an office in a portion of Gurdwara Rakab Ganj. The party was asked to vacate the portion after Harmeet Singh Kalka became the DSGMC president. A complaint was also filed with the Delhi Police as SAD refused to vacate the premises”.
“After police compliant was made, the SGPC installed the bir of the Guru Granth Sahib in that office. Now, we are not doing anything to take possession of that part of Gurdwara building to maintain the ‘maryada’ (honour) of the Guru Granth Sahib. It is clear case of SGPC and Akali Dal using the holy book as a shield to illegal occupy a part of the gurdwara”.
Reached for comments, Akali Dal’s Delhi unit president Paramjit Singh Sarna said, “The SGPC president had installed the Guru Granth Sahib to pray for release of Bandi Singhs (Sikh prisoners). He can answer on this. But Harmeet Singh Kalka will soon be removed as the president DSGMC”.
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