(From right) All India Sikh Students Federation president Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann and Akali Dal Panch Pardhani leader Baldev Singh Sirsa in a file photo. (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)
Simranjit Singh Mann-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and a couple of other Panthic organisations have decided to jointly hold a Sarbat Khalsa (congregation of Sikhs) on November 10 at Gurdwara Manji Sahib, Amritsar, to deliberate upon the exoneration of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by the Akal Takht in a blasphemy case.
The radical Sikh groups, including the All India Sikh Students’ Federation (AISSF) and the United Akali Dal, took the decision at a meeting held at a local gurdwara on Monday. If the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) does not allow holding of the Sarbat Khalsa at the gurdwara, the congregation would be held at Duburji village in Tarn Taran district.
During a meeting in Jalandhar on October 18, the organisations will announce a committee to hold the Sarbat Khalsa.
Speaking on the occasion, Mann and AISSF chief Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad said Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had influenced the Akal Takht jathedar to pardon the Sirsa dera chief with an eye on the 2017 assembly elections.
They added that after the dera chief’s exoneration, Sukhbir had ordered SGPC members and Akali MLAs to justify the decision of the Takht jathedars.
Others present at the meeting were former Akal Takht jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Giani Kewal Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Wassan Singh Jaffarwal, Dhyan Singh Mand, Gurdeep Singh Bathinda, Harjinder Singh Rode, Jaskaran Singh, Kahan Singhwala, Jaswinder Singh Baliyewal and Boota Singh Ransihke.
Panthic group plans parallel congregation
Amritsar: Even as a section of Sikh organisations have given a call for holding a Sarbat Khalsa (congregation of Sikhs) on November 10, the Panthic Talmel Sangathan led by former Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Giani Kewal Singh feels that before giving such a call, Panthic groups need to do a lot of groundwork.
“We do not subscribe to the view that for the success of a Sarbat Khalsa, a large gathering of members of the community is a must. We want to avoid such a gathering as the numbers do not matter. Concrete discussions are more important than large gatherings,” observed the sangathan’s core committee member Jaswinder Singh Advocate while talking to HT here on Monday.
The sangathan, too, is planning to hold a Sarbat Khalsa, but before making a formal announcement or finalising the date, the organisation is keen to get views of some leading Sikh religious, social and educational organisations or groups. The views of individuals from the community who have excelled in different fields and are well versed with the Sikh religion would also be obtained.
The decision to hold the Sarbat Khalsa was taken by the sangathan at its gathering held in Amritsar on October 1. For this, a committee has been constituted under Jaswinder.
The sangathan has compiled a list of around 100 organisations/individuals who would be contacted to get their views on the Sarbat Khalsa. The list includes former Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, besides several past and present SGPC members and Sikh organisations based in India and abroad.
On the decision of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and other Sikh groups to hold a Sarbat Khalsa, Jaswinder did not comment.