Amritsar: In a surprise move, Sikh high priests on Friday “revoked” their own edict (hukamnama) issued by the Sikhs’ highest temporal seat the Akal Takht on September 24 for pardoning controversial Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
The Akal Takht hukamnama evoked sharp criticism by Sikhs around the world, who have also questioned the “hasty” decision of revoking the pardoning.
The Sikh clergy on Friday held an emergency meeting at the Akal Takht secretariat, and decided to revoke the Akal Takht decision, which means there is no pardoning for Sirsa-based Dera head, who has been socially “boycotted” by the Sikhs. The Sikh clergy had come under criticism and condemnations for issuing pardon to the Dera head without his seeking an apology.
The controversial issues had rocked Punjab in 2007 when Gurmeet Ram Rahim had emulated Sikh Guru Guru Gobind Singh, which angered the Sikhs and led the Akal Takht to order his social boycott.
The Takht had taken the decision to pardon him on September 24 following an “apology” by the Dera chief, which ended his social boycott. However, on Friday, the decision to pardon the Dera chief was revoked.
However, Sikh diaspora world over has reacted strongly against the move by the Sikh clergy, saying that the matter was taken up in hush-hush manner, without taking the panth into confidence. Many Sikh organisations have also protested against the pardoning.
As Punjab was on the boil, the Takht was forced to repeal its decision. With an aim to resolve the issue, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh chaired a meeting. Following the meeting, he announced to constitute a committee, and also sought suggestions from Sikh intellectuals and organisations on the issue. The jathedar, meanwhile, revoked the decision. The Akal Takht jathedar said after serious deliberations on the issue and studying the sequence of events, they reached at a conclusion that Guru Panth did not accept the ‘hukamnama’, which is rejected now.
Hailing the decision, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee head Manjit Singh GK said they had accepted the earlier edict also, and as the new dictate has now come, they will be abide by it. Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC), who had openly revolted against the decision to pardon the Dera chief, termed the development as a “victory of the Sikh Panth”.
American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee coordinator Pritpal Singh, too, said, “It is a victory of the community, as jathedar could not impose their decisions, which were against the community’s interests. “The priests should be careful that they are not above the panth,” he said, adding that they have high regards for the Takht and decision taken should be in the interest of the panth.
Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) chief Parmajit Singh Sarna said the priests have lowered the image of the Akal Takht by taking a partisan decision first, and now by rejecting the same. The decision should not have been taken earlier, said Sarna, who smelled some “political interest” behind the move.