The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee has dismissed the five Panj Pyaras — for the second time in less than two and a half months — over the latter’s recent order to the SGPC to sack the five Akal Takht Jathedars (Sikh high priests) by January 2.
The Panj Pyaras want the Jathedars to be removed for granting pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim in an alleged blasphemy case.
The SPGP, in an emergency meeting of its interim committee held Friday, dismissed the Panj Pyaras “for challenging Sikh institutions thus”.
There are four Panj Pyaras, Satinam Singh, Satnam Singh, Mangal Singh, Tirlok Singh, as of now; the fifth, Major Singh, retired on December 31.
The SGPC had first dismissed the Panj Pyaras on October 23 last year after the latter summoned the Jathedars over the pardon granted to the Dera chief, and later ordered their removal when they failed to show up.
However, on October 28, 2015, the SGPC reinstated them as public anger mounted against its move.
The Panj Pyaras, however, issued fresh orders to dismiss the Jathedars Tuesday.
They claim that they are well within their rights to take a decision on behalf of the panth in lieu of the power bestowed on them by Guru Gobind Singh
SGPC, for its part, maintains that the power to appoint or dismiss the Jathedars lies only with its executive. “They (the Panj Pyaras) have no such power. They are not a decision-making body. They are doing the job not assigned to them. They have been dismissed,” said SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.
On November 21, 2015, the SGPC took disciplinary action and transferred two of the Panj Pyaras, Satinam Singh and Satnam Singh, out of the state, When both declined to follow the order, SGPC reacted by stopping their salaries.