Having utilised social media to mobilise a massive crowd for the Sarbat Khalsa in Amritsar on Tuesday, the men behind the event learned of the other side of online platforms Wednesday, when their appointment of jathedars to three Sikh Takhts came under intense scrutiny on social networking sites.
Among those in the firing line was Baljit Singh Daduwal, appointed interim jathedar of the Takht Damdama Sahib. A picture of him with Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee (DGMC) president, the SAD’s Manjit Singh G K, has been making the rounds online. It was clicked during the 2015 DGMC election.
Critics of the Sarbat Khalsa have used it to accuse Daduwal of maintaining ambiguous relations with the Badals. He once had the backing of the Badals during the 2007 blasphemy case, when he led an aggresive campaign against Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
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Daduwal, however, began losing favour after SAD decided to rethink its dispute with the Dera Sacha Sauda before the 2009 parliamentary elections.
Daduwal also posed with Manjit Singh G K during the 2015 DGMC elections despite being imprisoned, by the SAD-BJP government, for supporting the cause of a separate Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee for Haryana in the run-up to the 2014 Haryana elections.
Amreek Singh Ajnala, appointed as the jathedar of the Takht Kesgarh Sahib, was targeting online for his belief that slain Sikh militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala is still alive and would make a comeback.
Head of a Damdami Taksal faction, Amreek Singh has been maintaining for over 31 years that Bhindranwala had escaped Operation Blue Star and that he had met the Sikh militant.
Similarly, Dhian Singh Mand came under fire for being SAD(A) member till 10 minutes before his announcement as acting Akal Takht jathedar. Mand, however, did find sympathy as a report, claiming that two of his brothers (then minors) had allegedly been killed in fake police encounters during the militancy years, has been circulating on Facebook. Mand has lost three brothers in police encounters.