CHANDIGARH, Punjab—Members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today cautioned Giani Harpreet Singh, SGPC-appointed acting jathedar of Akal Takht Sahib, against president Gobind Singh Longowal’s attempt to shirk his responsibility of punishing its staffers guilty of misappropriation that led to over 328 Guru Granth Sahib’s saroops going missing in its publishing house, and putting ball to the court of Takht Sahib.
Chairing meeting of SGPC’s Dharam Parchar Committee, Longowal got a resolution passed by the committee at Chandigarh on October 13. In the resolution, the committee made an appeal to the jathedar to award exemplary punishments to the SGPC employees and officials indicted in the report of inquiry conducted by Advocate Ishar Singh-led panel constituted by the Takht Sahib.
Anti-Badal members of the SGPC—Kiranjot Kaur, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Amrik Singh Shahpur and Mahinder Singh Hussainpur—called on the jathedar at the secretariat of Takht Sahib.
In a memorandum handed over to the jathedar, the members said the case of the misappropriation is administrative matter of the SGPC, not related to religious maryada (code of conduct) and it is responsibility of the gurdwara body to punish its staffers. “However, it has attempted to shirk its responsibility by putting the ball to the court of Takht Sahib. The SGPC has planned to get rid of the row by getting the guilty awarded ‘tankhah’ (religious punishment) by Takht Sahib”, reads the memo.
The members urged the jathedar to reject the appeal made by the SGPC to uphold the sanctity, maryada and respect of the Takht Sahib. It may be a plan of the SGPC to rescue controversial charted accountant SS Kohli who was also indicted in the inquiry report and close to Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) president Sukhbir Badal, from this case, the members apprehend.
Actually, the jathedar directed the gurdwara body to punish its staffers according to the recommendations of the inquiry report.
In its August 27 meeting, the executive committee of the SGPC resolved to file criminal cases against its six staffers dismissed for playing a role in the misappropriation in this case. A week after, however, it made a U-turn by deciding to take action against them within the organisation as per the Panthik traditions. It cited that the criminal cases would pave the way for external interference into its internal matter.
It’s U-turn angered the Sikh organizations. Against its move, the indefinite morcha by the Sikh bodies is continuing outside Teja Singh Samundri Hall, head office of the SGPC, for the last a month. This morcha is proving to be a big headache for the gurdwara body which is controlled by the SAD (Badal).