Three persons were injured when a clash erupted outside Golden Temple premises allegedly between SGPC task force and supporters of Sarbat Khalsa-appointed parallel Jathedars on Thursday. The Sarbat Khalsa Jathedars — Dhian Singh Mand, Amrik Singh Ajnala and Baljit Singh Daduwal — had summoned Master Johar Singh, president of managing committee of Gurdwara Chhota Challughwara at Kahnuwan in Gurdaspur district at Akal Takht on Thursday.
Master Johar Singh has been accused of failing to maintain the sanctity of the historical gurdwara in Gurdaspur. Recently, manager of same gurdwara, Buta Singh, was caught in compromising position with a woman inside a room of the gurdwara inn earlier this year and Johar Singh was summoned in the same case.
Master Johar Singh was also summoned by SGPC-appointed official Jathedars on October 13. However, parallel Jathedars summoned him one day in advance. Meanwhile, sources said that there was little chance of Master Johar Singh appearing before official Jathedars on Friday.
Sarbat Khalsa Jathedars have held meetings inside the Golden Temple premises in past too. But the summons to Johar Singh were the reason behind high tension between the SGPC task force and parallel Jathedars on Thursday.
Parallel Jathedars entered the Golden Temple premises at around 1 pm. SGPC task force, however, didn’t allow their supporters inside and it resulted in a minor clash.
Satnam Singh Manawa, leader of United Akali Dal recived a minor injury, while turban of another activist, Balwant Singh Gopala, was removed in the scuffle. However, people from both sides and, also police intervened and prevented the situation from escalating.
All this while, Sarbat Khalsa Jathedars held a meeting inside Golden Temple premises, while Master Johar Singh remained present inside the Akal Takht waiting to be called before them. However, SGPC task force removed him from Akal Takht premises before his appearance in front of the parallel Jathedars.
Temperatures rose as he came out and complained about the treatment meted out by the task force. Meanwhile, parallel Jathedars, who had to announce a sentence for Master Johar Singh, were not allowed to do so by the SGPC task force. As they approached the Plaza entry, a clash between supporters of the two sides started again with swords and sticks being brandished.
Golden Temple manager Sulakhan Singh claimed that the SGPC additional secretary Bijay Singh and task force in-charge Amrik Singh got injured in the clash.
Total three persons from both sides were reported injured. The groups traded charges for triggering the clash. While both sides filed complaints, police were yet to register a case.
Later, however, the parallel Jathedars announced their verdict and declared Master Johar Singh as ‘tankhahya’ (guilty of religious misconduct). They ordered him to resign as president of the gurdwara, and sentenced him to listen to kirtan at the sanctum sanctorum, clean shoes of devotees and utensils at langar, besides holding an Akhand Path.