Amritsar, February 24
The silence of the Akal Takht and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on questions being raised over carrying of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ‘saroop’ at the Ajnala site where a protest led by radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh turned violent, has invited ire from several quarters.
Matter of concern
Though, the subject of ‘maryada’ comes under the jurisdiction of the Akal Takht and the SGPC, yet I believe that whatever happened at Ajnala is disappointing and a matter of concern. Making Sri Guru Granth Sahib a part of any protest or agitation cannot be justified. Iqbal Singh Lalpura, Chairperson, National Commission for Minorities
Ironically, Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, on his social media page, has made a vague statement while not clearly mentioning if any violation of the Sikh ‘rehat maryada’ was observed at the protesting site, which witnessed fierce scuffle between the police and trespassers in the presence of the ‘saroop’ at the Ajnala police station yesterday.
SGPC member Bibi Kiranjot Kaur has asked the jathedar to be clear and specific in his reaction. Criticising the idea of carrying the ‘saroop’ at the protesting site, she advocated that it was the responsibility of the Akal Takht and the SGPC to take cognisance of the incident or at least counsel the misguided Sikh youth.
“The protesters were making an excuse while giving examples of carrying of the ‘saroop’ by Sikh soldiers or ‘morcha’ organisers. The fact is that during the war times, soldiers never carry the ‘saroop’ in the battle zone as a ‘shield’ to resist an enemy attack, but enshrine it only in the peace zone. Similarly, during any morcha, the ‘parkash’ of ‘saroop’ is initiated at the site where there could be ‘Guru’s jaap’ with assurance of no violent activity. If the Ajnala incident is taken as an act of ignorance, then jathedar should have intervened and counselled the youth to desist from any such move,” she said.
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president, Harmeet Singh Kalka, criticised the whole episode in strong words and sought the Akal Takht’s intervention to avoid any such incident in future.
“Taking a lesson from the Ajnala episode, the Akal Takht jathedar should have come out clear. He should educate what ‘maryada’ has to be observed,” he said.
The National Commission for Minorities chairperson, Iqbal Singh Lalpura said, “Though, the subject of ‘maryada’ comes under the jurisdiction of the Akal Takht and the SGPC, yet as a devout Sikh, I believe that whatever happened at Ajnala is disappointing and a matter of concern. Sri Guru Granth Sahib leads the global Sikh community and represents the Sikh philosophy. Making it a part of any protest or agitation cannot be justified. The Akal Takht and the SGPC should clarify what ‘maryada’ has to be followed in this direction.”
Former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh also questioned the motive behind carrying the holy Guru Granth Sahib ‘saroop’ to the protest site, which, he said, was unacceptable.
The BJP leader, Prof Sarchand Singh Khiala said, “The Sikh panth has held hundreds of marches and organised morchas. This is the first and the only instance in which the holy ‘saroop’ has been misused as a guard in a personal tussle with the system. The Akal Takht should have taken a serious notice of the incident. I have written to the jathedar and asked him if this incident can be termed as a blasphemous act?”