Coming out in the defence of the new Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal who was sentenced by the apex Sikh religious body for for seeking votes from Dera Sacha Sauda during the 2017 Assembly elections, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said Saturday that he had committed mistake for which he was punished and that questioning his appointment was not right.
In a statement, the Jathedar said, “Some organisations have been questioning the appointment of Gobind Singh Longowal that is not right.”
“According to the community tradition, if a person appears before Akal Takht as a humble human being, admits mistake, takes a pledge to not repeat the same offence in future and completes the religious punishment, that person is pardoned and accepted back in community with a big heart. Even back in history, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Sikh warrior Jassa Singh Ramgharia had also committed mistakes but were accepted back in community after they appeared before the Akal Takht and complete religious punishment,” he said.
“So, no one should make allegations motivated by personal rivalry and hurt religious feelings of anyone,” said the Jathedar.
Longowal, however, has been repeatedly avoiding to admit he was sentenced by Akal Takht.
In fact, while talking to The Indian Express Wednesday, he denied he was sentenced for seeking votes from Dera Sacha Sauda.
“I never went to Dera Sacha Sauda to seek votes. I was summoned by Akal Takht, but had given it in writing that I never asked votes from the dera. I was never sentenced by Akal Takht,” Longowal had said.
In April this year, Akal Takht had sentenced Longowal and 38 other Sikh politicians for seeking votes from Dera Sacha Sauda on the basis of a report submitted by three SGPC members, Baldev Singh, Amarjit Singh Chawla and Gurcharan Singh Grewal, all belonging to SAD.
Garewal said, “Our report was based on the media reports about these leaders seeking votes from Dera Sacha Sauda and I stand by my report.”
Akal Takht had given opportunity to all politicians to defend their case. However, only one former SAD MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali from Dakhan had challenged the report and later, Akal Takht had declared him innocent.
Longowal never challenged report and had completed the sentence.