Desecration report an attempt to divide Sikhs: SGPC chiefhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/desecration-report-an-attempt-to-divide-sikhs-sgpc-chief-5325896/

Desecration report an attempt to divide Sikhs: SGPC chief

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal speaks to The Indian Express on silence over the Dera Sacha Sauda link in the report and also claims that Akal Takht head priest admitted before the religious body that his statements against the Badal family on the issue were a “lie”.

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Gobind Singh Longowal (centre). (Express Photo Harmeet Sodhi/Files)

A day after the SGPC rejected the report on desecration incidents as “anti-Sikh”, SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal speaks to The Indian Express on silence over the Dera Sacha Sauda link in the report and also claims that Akal Takht head priest admitted before the religious body that his statements against the Badal family on the issue were a “lie”.

Do you have the copy of Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report?

It has already been leaked in media. So we have reacted on the basis of the leaked report.

SGPC has said that report could hurt peace and harmony in state. Did you say this due to Dera Sacha Sauda link mentioned in report?

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We don’t mean the Dera. With this report, Congress wants to divide Sikhs, it wants them to fight with each other.

Do you have an objection if Dera link in the desecration episodes is established? SIT head R S Khatra, investigating Bargari desecration episode, has already confirmed this link in public.

No. SGPC has no problem if Dera or anybody else is found guilty in the report. What objection would SGPC have? Punjab peace and harmony didn’t get disturbed when Gurmeet Ram Rahim was arrested. If Dera is guilty, it should be punished.

SGPC hasn’t reacted yet on the SIT confirming Dera hand in desecration. Is there any reason behind silence on the Dera link?

SGPC has no fear of Dera. We have no relation with the Dera. Why should we be afraid. Gurmeet Ram Rahim should be booked if it is proved. We are against Dera.

According to you, former Takht Talwandi Sabo Jathedar Giani Gurmukh Singh levelled false allegations on SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal last year. Gurmukh Singh claimed that Sukhbir had forced him and other Sikh Jathedars in October 2015 to give pardon to Gurmeet Ram Rahim. Why was he then reappointed head priest at the esteemed seat of the Akal Takht? Is there a link with Gurmukh Singh’s younger brother, Himmat Singh, going back on his statement to Justice Ranjit Singh Commission against the Badal family?

It was routine transfer. Gurmukh Singh came to me with request that his family is residing in Amritsar so he should be shifted back to city from Haryana. He is our employee and I accepted his request. Only he can explain if he was speaking the truth or making a false allegation. It has no link with Himmat Singh or the Commission’s report.

But don’t you think SGPC should have asked Gurmukh Singh for clarification on his statements against Sukhbir Singh Badal and Parkash Singh Badal?

This is up to Gurmukh Singh. He should clarify it. We had told him in past too that he has made false statements.

But SGPC has, in fact, appointed Gurmukh Singh to a plump posting despite that statement.

Before reappointing him, Gurmukh Singh admitted, in front of us, that his statements against the Badal family were a lie. He admitted his mistake and asked us to forgive him. He asked for forgiveness and it is tradition of the community to forgive anyone who admits his mistake.

Do you think, you have committed a mistake by reappointing him?

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No. It is not a mistake. He is the one who made a mistake. He is our employee. We can transfer him anywhere.