The SGPC on Tuesday announced its decision to withdraw Shiromani Patrkar Award conferred on veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar in 2006.
The apex body of Sikhs was under pressure to take back the honour over a recent newspaper article written by Nayar in which he compared Sikh militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale with Sacha Sauda head and rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim. Sikh bodies, including Dal Khalsa and Damdami Taksal, were upset with Nayar’s article that appeared in several newspapers after the dera chief was convicted of rape on August 25.
SGPC had honoured Nayar for his services towards community through his writings. The Sikh body decided to withdraw the award at an executive meeting presided by SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar in Fathegarh Sahib on Tuesday.
“There was resentment in the community over the use of foul language against Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in an article written by Kuldip Nayar. So, we have passed a resolution to withdraw the honour conferred to him in 2006,” read the press note. Kuldip Nayar had received Shiromani Patrkar Award three years after SGPC had passed resolution to declare Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as ‘martyr’ in 2003. Portrait of Bhindranwale was installed in central Sikh museum in 2007.
Asked about SGPC’s decision, Nayar said: “I have not yet heard from them (SGPC) on this. Once they intimate me about their decision, I shall return the award and the money that I received with it.” Damdami Taksal, meanwhile, welcomed the SGPC decision.
At the same meeting, SGPC also decided to celebrate 550th birthday of Guru Nanak Dev in 2019 on a grand scale. It also decided to set up a museum at Nankana Sahib, Pakistan. SGPC will also set up Gurmat Sangeet Academy at Nankana Sahib in Pakistan in the name of Bhai Mardana, Muslim friend and disciple of Guru Nanak.