Row over pardoning Gurmeet Ram Rahim: Incommunicado for 2 weeks, Akal Takht jathedar surfaces finally
Had not appeared in public amid demands for his resignation; attends ceremony of Guru Granth Sahib’s installation day
After remaining incommunicado for nearly two weeks amid demands for his resignation over pardoning of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a blasphemy row and for taking other controversial decisions, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh appeared in public on Monday for taking part in the celebrations to mark the installation of the Guru Granth Sahib.
The jathedar took part in the ‘nagar kirtan’ (religious procession) which started from Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib at around 7am and culminated at the Golden Temple. He also took part in various religious functions at the Golden Temple to mark the day.
His phone was switched off since August 28.
Former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar had said the Panthic crisis had emerged in the wake of the controversial decision of pardoning the Sirsa dera chief and the jathedar should quit immediately.
Also, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)’s Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa had sought his resignation as the Takht jathedar, holding him fully responsible for exonerating Gurmeet Ram Rahim. He even had urged the SGPC to remove him from the post.
This was for the first time that a senior Akali leader spoke openly against the jathedar over his decision, which was later revoked after facing opposition from Sikh bodies in 2015.
Ironically, though the decision to exonerate the dera head was taken during Makkar’s tenure (as SGPC chief) and the SGPC had endorsed it and even issued advertisements urging the Sikh community to accept it.
Guru Granth Sahib’s Installation Day celebrated
To mark the installation Day of the Sikh holy book, the Golden Temple complex was decked with flowers on Monday. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) office-bearers said around 100 quintal flowers were used to adorn the shrine complex.
Flowers were even brought from Australia, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia for the purpose. Thousands of devotees paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and listened to hymns on the occasion.
First Published: Sep 10, 2018 22:13:28