CHANDIGARH: Amidst strong objection by Sikh leaders to the pardon granted to Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by the Sikh faith's highest temporal seat, SGPC today urged the community to accept the decision, saying that the Akal Takht's supremacy cannot be challenged.
"As Sikhs, we cannot challenge the supremacy of Akal Takht. When five Sikh priests at Akal Takht take any decision, every Sikh has to abide by it.
"I urge the Sikh community that we should accept the Akal Takht decision (to pardon Dera head)," Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), President, Avtar Singh Makkar said today.
Seeking to put behind a bitter row, Akal Takht had on September 24 said it has pardoned Gurmeet Ram Rahim following a letter of apology from him. The Dera chief is accused of hurting the sentiments of Sikhs by attiring himself as the tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh.
Sikh organisations like the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF), Bhai Mohkam Singh's United Akali Dal and Dal Khalsa, too, have criticised the decision.
Several Sikh leaders, including former Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, who had issued the 'Hukamnama' (edict) in 2007 against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, have registered their protest against the decision, terming it a "betrayal" of the Sikh community.
They have also charged that the move was "politically motivated". Sikh leaders have further claimed that the 'Hukamnama' issued in 2007 cannot be cancelled or amended.
Meanwhile, SGPC General Secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur expressed displeasure over the Akal Takht decision, saying it has hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community.
"I do not know what they (Sikh clergy) were thinking while taking the decision to pardon (Dera head). Several lives were lost and several people went to jail to implement the Hukamnama (edict) issued in 2007," said Bhaur.
The Dera Sacha Sauda chief was in 2007 accused by the Sikh clergy of attiring himself as the tenth Sikh Guru during a
religious congregation of the sect. Violent clashes had broken out between Dera followers and Sikhs in parts of Punjab at the time.