Amid the row over the Akal Takht pardon for the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, the Takht Keshgarh Sahib chief Giani Mal Singh, among the five Sikh high priests, was attacked by a pathi (one who recites the Gurbani) of the Kiratpur Sahib gurdwara on Tuesday.
Anandpur Sahib SHO Harkirat Singh said Giani Mal Singh was attacked with a sharp-edged weapon near his residence at about 11.50 am by Joga Singh, a resident of Majitha in Amritsar district.
The attack comes days after the Punjab Police had enhanced security cover for the Akal Takht chief Giani Gurbachan Singh, Takht Damdama Sahib chief Giani Gurmukh Singh and Takht Keshgarh Sahib chief Giani Mal Singh following Sikh clergy’s pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who had been accused of blasphemy.
The Sikh high priest suffered a minor injury on his thigh.
Joga Singh, who worked for SGPC on an ad hoc basis, was overpowered by the SGPC officials and thrashed before being handed over to the police.
Police, however, did not register a case against Joga Singh after Giani Mal Singh said he decided to “pardon” him. “I conveyed my decision to (Rupnagar) SSP Varinder Pal Singh and to (SAD MLA from Ropar) Daljit Singh Cheema that I do not want any case registered against the child,” Giani Mal Singh said over phone. Cheema said: “Singh Sahib called me and the Rupnagar SSP and told us that he does not want any case registered against the youth.”
Sources said that anticipating a threat to the Sikh clergy after the pardon to the dera head, the Punjab government had recently enhanced their security cover. Apart from existing security cover, as many as 10 more security personnel and one pilot and one escort vehicle were attached with each of the Sikh high priests recently, said a senior officer of the Punjab Police.
The officer said Akal Takht chief Giani Gurbachan Singh had earlier five gunmen and two guards at his residence. Giani Gurmukh Singh had five security personnel and Giani Mal Singh had three security personnel before their security was reviewed and enhanced.
Roopnagar SSP Varinder Pal Singh was among the police officers who reached Takht Keshgarh Sahib after the attack.
Asked if the pardon to the dera head triggered the attack, Giani Mal Singh told the media in Anandpur Sahib that it was for the police to investigate. He maintained that exonerating the dera head was a joint decision of the Sikh clergy.
The police did not attribute any specific cause for the attack. “Joga Singh hails from Majitha in Amritsar district and worked as a pathi at Anandpur Sahib. He had come to Takht Keshgarh Sahib for some work today. In a fit of rage, he attacked the jathedar,” said SHO Harkirat Singh. “Joga Singh has been detained and being questioned for the attack.” Till the filing of this report, no case was registered. The Sikh clergy’s decision to pardon the dera head in an alleged sacrilegious act dating back to 2007 has angered sections of Sikh community. Amid sharp criticism of the Sikh clergy’s decision, Akal Takht chief Giani Gurbachan Singh has gone incommunicado for days now. The timing and manner of the decision is being questioned, given the fact that the Akal Takht had issued an edict against the dera head in 2007 and had reportedly turned down the earlier apology tendered in a similar fashion by the dera head.