A day after a team of Amritsar-based Siri Guru Granth Sahib Satikar Committee removed Bir of Guru Granth Sahib from the house of a former Khalsa College principal, Jaswant Singh (78), the head of this Committee said that he is against Sikhs keeping the holy book at their homes.
Bir was taken away from Jaswant Singh’s house in village Bassi Jalal of Hoshiarpur giving a reason that the owner of the house was a meat eater.
Balbir Singh Muchhal, who heads Siri Guru Granth Sahib Satikar Committee, said: “If any Sikh wants to do path of Guru Granth Sahib then he or she can do it at a nearby gurdwara. There is no need of installing Guru Sahib at homes. It is almost impossible to follow all the decorum to install Guru Granth Sahib at home. So it is better that Sikhs stop this practice.”
Muchhal, who is also the founder member this Satikar Committee which was among the first to be set up in Punjab, added: “I have been working with Satikar Committee for the last 25 years. We keep a check if anyone is causing disrespect to Guru Granth Sahib in anyway. Whenever we conduct some action, we inform the local police and administration in advance. We were first to launch this Committee. Now there are countless committees across the state. We have found people keeping Guru Granth Sahib at places where Guru Sahib shouldn’t be. There is need for strict action to stop this disrespect caused to Guru Granth Sahib.”
Over the years, many Satikar Committees have mushroomed not only in the state but also in foreign countries. Such Committees often take police along with them during self-styled raids, make videos.
Committees’ teams are known to beat up priests allegedly found violating code of conduct issued by the Akal Takht.
Satikar Committees have been also demolishing tombs in the gurdwaras or taking away Bir of Guru Granth Sahib wherever there is some tomb.
Villages often have “marian” (place to remember ancestors) where Guru Granth Sahib remains installed. However, Satikar Committees do not approve this.
SGPC, Damdami Taksal and Nihang organisations, all have commended Satikar Committees’ actions at one point of time or another. In fact, even former Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti and the SGPC itself were accused of disrespecting religious texts by such Committees in the past.
SGPC member Kiranjot Kaur said, “I am surprised that instead of spreading awareness about how to respect Guru Granth Sahib, they have been taking away Bir. They are more into hooliganism than spreading message of Sikhi. Instead of preaching they have sticks in hand.”
She added, “Who has given Satikar Committees legitimacy to enter someone’s home and accuse them for disrespecting Guru Granth Sahib? Police accompanies them to such spots. Government should look into who is giving legitimacy to such Committees? They have no right to do this. Police should stop going with them. SGPC has repeatedly commended the acts of Satikar Committees.”
A statement by Sikh Vichar Manch, a body of intellectuals, said: “The intolerant and aggressive behaviour of the Satkar Committees is damaging the Sikh Panth more nationally and internationally as they are enforcing an inward fight within the Sikh society which, in turn, would obstruct the entry of new faithful into the Sikh fold. They should desist from forcibly imposing self-conceived ‘rehat maryada’ as the anti-Sikh forces are active to divide the Sikh Panth on such flimsy issues.”
However, Muchhal defends such actions: “We have blessings and order from Guru Granth Sahib. Guru himself is taking seva from us. We have been implementing the code of conduct approved by Akal Takht.”
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