THE EXECUTIVE committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Friday removed Giani Gurmukh Singh from the post of acting jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda district, and as head granthi of the Akal Takht.
The decision was taken by the executive committee at a meeting in Fatehgarh Sahib.
Gurmukh Singh stands transferred to Gurdwara Dhamdhan Sahib in Haryana as head granthi.
Giani Harpreet Singh, the head granthi of Darbar Sahib Muktsar Gurdwara, has been made acting jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib. He will be second of the jathedars of the five takhts from Muktsar, home district of the Badal family.
Bhai Malkait Singh, granthi at Shaheed Ganj Baba Deep Singh Ji Amritsar, has taken Gurmukh’s place as head granthi of the Akal Takht.
The action against Gurmukh came after his boycott of the April 17 meeting of Sikh clerics at the Akal Takht secretariat to pronounce religious punishment for Sikh leaders, who lobbied Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for his followers’ votes in the recent Assembly election.
Ram Rahim has been blacklisted as a blasphemer by the Sikh clergy. Gurmukh had openly alleged that SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal should also be held accountable.
When the Sikh politicans arrived at Akal Takht on April 17 for a hearing, Gurmukh insisted that the meeting be held at the Akal Takht gurdwara instead of the office so that the entire community could hear what they had to say.
Earlier this week, Gurmukh also alleged that a September 2015 pardon given by the jathedars to Ram Rahim was under pressure from Sukhbir. That pardon had to be hastily withdrawn after the Sikh community at large protested against it.
Influenced and hence he did not want to be part of that meeting. He added that the SGPC conducts closed-door meetings before announcing its decisions.
SGPC President Kirpal Singh Badungar said, “Giani Gurmukh Singh did not follow the maryada of jathedar and hence the executive committee took this decision and removed him from the post of acting jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib as well as from the post of head granthi of the Akal Takht.”
Reacting to this charge, Badungar said, “Meetings are always held in rooms and hence one need not object to this. And later, we tell everyone about the details of the meeting and hence we are transparent about it.”
Gurmukh had been appointed acting jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib on January 17, 2015, after the SGPC removed Balwant Singh Nandgarh, the then jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib. That meeting, too, was held at Fatehgarh Sahib. Like Gurmukh, Nandgarh was charged with not following maryada in his opposition to the Nanakshahi calendar adopted by the SGPC. There were charges that he (Nandgarh) had disrespected the Panj Piyaras as well.
Regarding the SGPC decision on Gurmukh, Badungar said, “He went against unity and hence this action had to be been taken against him.”
The only opposition to the decision came from executive committee member Surjit Singh Kalabula. “It was not in the agenda of the meeting. It was tabled by general secretary Amarjeet Singh Chawla. I had opposed this proposal of removing Gurmukh Singh in haste. I demanded that they remove all three jathedars in Punjab. Because they all have damaged the authority of Akal Takht. But they didn’t listen to my suggestions. I had warned them not to take any decision in haste. It is apparent that this decision has been taken under pressure.”