3 in­jured as ri­val groups clash at Golden Tem­ple

Trou­ble started when SGPC task force evicted Ch­hota Ghal­lughara Gur­d­wara chief, who had come to ap­pear be­fore par­al­lel jathedars

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - News -

Three peo­ple were in­jured in a clash between mem­bers of the Shi­ro­mani Gur­d­wara Par­band­hak Com­mit­tee (SGPC) task force and rad­i­cal groups at the en­trance plaza of the Golden Tem­ple com­plex here on Thurs­day. The clash took place when SGPC task force mem­bers forcibly evicted Master Jo­har Singh, pres­i­dent of the man­ag­ing com­mit­tee of Ch­hota Ghal­lughara Gur­d­wara at Qa­dian.

JO­HAR WAS SUM­MONED TO CLAR­IFY STAND ON AL­LEGED IN­VOLVE­MENT OF A GUR­D­WARA COM­MIT­TEE MEM­BER IN IM­MORAL AC­TIV­I­TIES

Three peo­ple were in­jured in a clash between mem­bers of the Shi­ro­mani Gur­d­wara Par­band­hak Com­mit­tee (SGPC) task force and rad­i­cal groups at the en­trance plaza of the Golden Tem­ple com­plex here on Thurs­day.

The clash took place when mem­bers of the SGPC task force forcibly evicted Master Jo­har Singh, pres­i­dent of the man­ag­ing com­mit­tee of Ch­hota Ghal­lughara Gur­d­wara at Qa­dian in Gur­daspur district, from the Akal Takht. Bran­dish­ing swords, sup­port­ers of par­al­lel jathedars, who were des­ig­nated at the rad­i­cals’ Sar­bat Khalsa held in 2015, clashed with task force mem­bers.

Jo­har Singh had come to the Akal Takht to ap­pear be­fore the par­al­lel jathedars, who had sum­moned him to clar­ify his stand against al­le­ga­tions of in­volve­ment of a mem­ber of the gur­d­wara man­age­ment, Buta Singh, in im­moral ac­tiv­i­ties. On Au­gust 1, Buta was al­legedly caught with a wo­man in a com­pro­mis­ing po­si­tion at the gur­d­wara. Be­ing the head of the man­age­ment com­mit­tee, Jo­har Singh was sum­moned to ex­plain why he did not take ac­tion against his col­league.

SEC­OND SUCH IN­CI­DENT

This is for the sec­ond time that the par­al­lel jathedars —Dhian Singh Mand (Akal Takht), Am­rik Singh Aj­nala (Takht Kes­garh Sahib) and Baljit Singh Daduwal (Takht Dam­dama Sahib) — tried to outdo those hold­ing th­ese posts of­fi­cially.

The par­al­lel jathedars en­tered the Akal Takht around 1pm to hold the meet­ing, how­ever, their sup­port­ers, who are mem­bers of the Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal (Am­rit­sar) and United Akali Dal (UAD), were stopped by the mem­bers of SGPC task force to en­ter the com­plex.

PO­LICE IN­TER­VENE

This led to a clash and po­lice had to in­ter­vene as both sides at­tacked each other with swords, sticks and other tra­di­tional weapons. Those in­jured in the clash in­cluded Sat­nam Singh Manawa of the United Akali Dal, SGPC ad­di­tional sec­re­tary Bi­jay Singh and task force in-charge Am­rik Singh.

“This un­for­tu­nate that Sikhs were not al­lowed en­try to Sri Dar­bar Sahib. This has been done on the di­rec­tion of SGPC pres­i­dent Kir­pal Singh Badun­gar. We also de­mand po­lice ac­tion against the SGPC em­ploy­ees who at­tacked the san­gat,” said Dhian Singh Mand.

SGPC sec­re­tary Roop Singh said: “Doors of the Dar­bar Sahib are open to all. But no­body can be al­lowed to un­der­mine the sanc­tity of the holy place and dis­turb its spir­i­tual en­vi­ron­ment.”

JO­HAR SINGH DE­CLARED TANKHAIYA

Mean­while, Jo­har Singh ac­cused the SGPC em­ploy­ees of man­han­dling him. “I was sit­ting in­side the Akal Takht and was recit­ing hymns, but the SGPC em­ploy­ees forced me out to en­sure that I don’t ap­pear be­fore the jathedars,” he said.

Trash­ing the al­le­ga­tions, Golden Tem­ple man­ager Su­lakhan Singh said the SGPC staff did not use force against any­body. “They did their duty to main­tain the sanc­tity of the Akal Takht,” he said.

Later, the par­al­lel jathedars de­clared Jo­har Singh as a “tankhaiya” (guilty of re­li­gious mis­con­duct).

Be­sides re­mov­ing him from the head­ship the gur­d­wara man­age­ment com­mit­tee of Gur­daspur shrine, the par­al­lel jathedars di­rected him to lis­ten to kir­tan at the Golden Tem­ple sanc­tum sanc­to­rum, be­sides clean­ing of devo­tees’ shoes, clean­ing uten­sils at lan­gar for seven days, be­sides hold­ing an ak­hand path.

JAGIR KAUR SUM­MONED

The par­al­lel jathedars also sum­moned for­mer SGPC pres­i­dent Bibi Jagir Kaur, who is fac­ing charges of killing her daugh­ter and foeti­cide, at Akal Takht. “Though courts have awarded pun­ish­ment to her, still she holds key po­si­tion in the re­li­gious body (SGPC). Keep­ing in view of re­li­gious sen­ti­ments of the Sikhs, Jagir Kaur is di­rected to ap­pear at the Akal Takht on Novem­ber 7 to present her case,” read the or­der is­sued by par­al­lel jathedars.

SGPC task force mem­bers clash­ing with rad­i­cal Sikh ac­tivists at the Golden Tem­ple, Am­rit­sar, on Thurs­day; an ac­tivist who was in­jured show­ing his hand.

SAMEER SEHGAL /HT

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