3 Sikh Clerics Ousted, Ex-Ultra is Jathedar
CHANDIGARH: Three Sikh priests were ‘removed’ and former militant Jagtar Singh Hawara, who is serving a life term for the assassination of then Chief Minister Beant Singh, was appointed as the jathedar of the Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs, at a congregation here on Tuesday.
Hawara, a former militant of Babbar Khalsa International, is currently serving his sentence at a high-security modern jail in Chandigarh. He was convicted for Beant’s assassination in a human bomb attack on August 31, 1996.
The congregation, called ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ by Sikh organisations, including radicals, also directed Operation Bluestar commander Lt Gen KS Brar (Retd), and KPS Gill, former Director General of Police, Punjab, to appear before the Akal Takht, and declared them as “tankhaiya” (guilty of religious conduct).
The congregation appointed Amrik Singh Ajnala and Baljit Singh Daduwal as head priests of Takht Keshgarh Sahib and Takht Damdama Sahib respectively, and withdrew the titles of Fakre-e-Qaum and Panth Rattan given to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. SGPC Chief Jathedar Avtar Singh Makkar was also stripped of the Shiromani Sewak Award. Nearly 150 representatives of Sikh organisations from around the world addressed a gathering of thousands at the congregation, which was held in Chabba village on the outskirts of Amritsar.
At the congregation, it was further alleged that present Jathedars were under the influence of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and were not keeping up the dignity and traditions of Sikh institutions, and a decision was passed to punish those found guilty of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in accordance with Sikh traditions.
The next Sarbatt Khalsa will be held on Vaisakhi (April 13) of 2016, the congregation announced.
Demands were also raised for granting Vatican status to the Golden Temple complex and elections to the general house of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. A total of thirteen resolutions were made at the congregation. The resolutions to remove Takhat jathedars were read by Bhai Gurdip Singh Bathinda. Some resolutions were read by former Khalistani leader Wassan Singh Zaffarwal. The English version of the resolutions were read by Harinder Singh from the US.