Be alert against people trying to 'destabilise' community: Akal Takht Jathedar to Sikhs

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Amritsar, Nov 17 (PTI) Days after a brawl between the SGPC task force and members of some Sikh organisations over missing copies of the Guru Granth Sahib, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh on Tuesday cautioned people against those trying to 'destabilise' the community.

He said this during a religious function held to commemorate the first centenary of the formation of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), an apex religious body of the Sikhs, at the Manji Sahib Hall in the Golden Temple complex here.

Commenting over the brawl, the Jathedar said recently some Sikh outfits tried to 'lock' gates of the SGPC complex.

He said if done again, Sikhs should not sit in villages but come to Amritsar and challenge those trying to 'destabilise' the community.

He said the SGPC, which manages Sikh shrines, should take more caution against such elements.

A few days ago, some radical Sikh outfits had staged a protest and allegedly locked the entrance of the SGPC complex at the Golden Temple. The incident resulted in a clash, leaving several injured.

Radicals are holding the SGPC responsible for missing 328 copies of the Guru Granth Sahib in the SGPC records.

The Jathedar said, “This is not a case of sacrilege as being made out but of corruption and administrative lapses.” “Required action has already been taken in the matter and officials responsible for lapses and corruption have been suspended after the submission of an inquiry report by an eminent judge,” he said.

The Jathedar said the Sikhs need to be united on single platform and sink their differences for a bigger challenge in future.

He alleged that the Centre wanted to “break” the SGPC and “run all gurdwaras by forming trusts controlled by it”.

Earlier in 1984, there was a ruthless attempt by the Government of India to break the SGPC, he alleged. It wanted to make a trust or board to manage Sikh shrines on the pattern of Hindu Temples but couldn't succeed since the move was scuttled by the then SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the Jathedar alleged.

In a veiled dig at dissident Akalis, the Jathedar said the Shiromani Akali (SAD) Dal is the “son” of the SGPC, which is its mother, and no force can break this relationship.

He advised the SAD leadership to conduct a 'Punjab to Panth' march so that no one could disassociate the “son” (SAD) from its “mother” (SGPC).

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal said the apex religious body will focus on addressing the issue of apostasy besides strengthening the “dharam parchar lehar” (religious promotion movement).

He said focus will also be laid on tackling environmental pollution and saplings will be given at gurdwaras to devotees.

He said the SGPC will establish an advisory committee to resolve grievances of Sikhs worldwide.

He said an art gallery will also be established as part of the centenary celebrations.

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal pitched for the need to ensure the “security, equality and dignity” of minorities.

Badal asked the SGPC to initiate a five-year drive to fight multi-pronged challenges like religious conversions.

He cautioned against attempts to undermine “the unique, separate and sovereign religious identity of the Sikhs”.

“The Khalsa Panth takes deep pride in its unique separate religious identity. The Khalsa neither interferes in religious affairs of others nor it tolerate interference in its own religious affairs,” the SAD chief said.

Laying the blueprint of his party for Punjab, he said once they come to the power in the state, their focus will be on health and education of the youth and children. PTI JMS SUN VSD RDK RDK