Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh has asked Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to halt preparations for a religious procession to Pakistan it was planning on October 16. The Jathedar has also ordered DSGMC to give details of donations collected for this purpose. The procession was announced as part of 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
Akal Takht Jathedar’s order is seen as a setback for DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa who was in a supposed race with his rival in Delhi Sikh politics and former DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna for marching towards Nankana Sahib in Pakistan with a religious procession.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Akal Takht Jathedar said: “Pakistan government has only given permission to one such religious procession and that permission is with a political party. The DSGMC doesn’t have any such permission for now. Pakistan government should have accepted all such requests on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji. But as it is not happening now, so the DSGMC should immediately announce to postpone its plans of religious procession till Pakistan government issues it any such permission.”
Earlier, Sarna had claimed that he had permission from the Pakistan government for taking out the procession. Meanwhile, the DSGMC had also announced a similar religious procession to Pakistan.
“The two separate announcements one by a political party and other by the DSGMC have created confusion among the Sikh Sangat. That confusion should come to an end. Also, I have received requests from Sikh Sangat that only one such procession should be going to Pakistan with all respect at grand level. So, DSGMC should cancel its plans to take out any such religious procession to Pakistan on October 16. Now all Sikhs should focus on procession which is scheduled for October 28 and has the permission from Pakistan government,” said the Jathedar.
Objecting to donations collected in the name of the religious procession, the Jathedar added, “I have come to know that DSGMC had decided to take a golden palanquin to gift at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib as part of religious procession. Sikh Sangat has also donated for this golden palanquin. But again there has been no permission from government to carry this along. Also, a similar golden palanquin gift given to a gurdwara in Pakistan in past is lying there useless and it is often mistaken as sacred by the sangat, who pay respects to it. It is against the teachings of the Guru. Instead, we all should donate for education of children of Sikhs living in Pakistan so that they can serve the community in the future.”
The Jathedar has ordered that all donation boxes installed to collect donations for the purpose should be removed immediately. “At the same time, Akal Takht should be informed about the total donations collected for this purpose of religious procession and golden palanquin and how much of this donation has been already spent. Also this information should be published on a notice board so that sangat can read it,” said the Jathedar.