CHANDIGARH: The Akal Takht, the highest temporal body of the Sikhs, has decided to constitute a Sikh heritage commission that would be the sole authority to permit renovation in any gurdwara around the world that is at least 60 years old. It will be mandatory to seek permission for such work from the commission, which will report directly to the Takht.
This step has been taken after a portion of the ‘Darshani Deori’, the main entrance leading to the sanctum sanctorum of the historic Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Taran Taran, was demolished a few days ago in ‘kar seva’, drawing flak from the Sikh community and political parties ahead of parliamentary elections.
The most senior priest of the Akal Takht, Harpreet Singh, said that the commission, which will be formed shortly, will have two Sikh historians, an expert on Sikh paintings and art, two architects, a horticulturist and conservationists.
“For any renovation work that has to be done in any gurdwara that is sixty years old, the permission of this committee will be a must, and without its permission, no such work can be started by the gurdwara management,” he said.
He clarified that without permission from this commission, no historical Sikh building will be demolished. “This commission is being formed on the demand of the public,’’ said Singh.
Asked about the report of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee on the demolition of the ‘Darshani Deori’ in Darbar Sahib Gurdwara, he said that his office had received the report and he had agreed with its recommendation for filing a case against the guilty. He did not rule out SGPC officials conniving with the ‘kar seva’ volunteers who demolished the structure, and said action would be taken against them.
This commission will be different from the ten-member SGPC subcommittee on historical structures.
On Saturday, senior Supreme Court lawyer and former Aam Aadmi Party leader HS Phoolka had met the priest and demanded the constitution of a committee to safeguard historical Sikh monuments.
Leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali), led by it’s president Ranjit Singh Bharampura, and delegates of an alliance of Sikh organizations also gave memoranda to the priest.
- It will be mandatory to seek permission from the heritage commission for any renovation of historical Sikh monuments.
- The commission will include historians, architects, an expert on Sikh art, conservationists, and a horticulturist.