The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Wednesday suspended ‘Panj Pyaras’ (the five beloved ones of the Guru) — hours after they summoned the five Sikh high priests to explain their flip-flop on pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
In a press statement, the SGPC termed the move to summon the Takht chiefs as “against the traditions of Akal Takht and the official norms”, and said it was aimed at causing “conflict and division”.
The SGPC added the “self-styled” act of the ‘Panj Pyaras’ had caused “damage to the panthic traditions and the same was not tolerable”.
Three of the suspended ‘Panj Pyaras’ would now be sent to Uttar Pradesh Sikh Mission at Hapur and the other two to Sikh Mission Kurukshetra.
The SGPC also suspended its secretaries, Roop Singh and Manjit Singh, on grounds of “administrative lapses”.
Four SGPC employees — raagis (who perform kirtan) Karaj Singh and Harcharan Singh, supervisor Harpal Singh and preacher Surjit Singh — were also suspended for raising slogans against Akal Takht chief Giani Gurbachan Singh at Manji Sahib Diwan Hall gurdwara in the Golden Temple on Monday.
Earlier in the day, the five ‘Panj Pyaras’ , who perform amrit sanchar (baptism) at the Akal Takht, annnounced a gurmatta (edict) summoning the Takht chiefs.
The gurmatta read that the September-24 decision to pardon the Dera Sacha Sauda head by the Akal Takht chief as well as the chiefs of other Takhts was taken “without taking Khalsa Panth into confidence”.
The Sikh clergy had on September 24 exonerated the Dera chief in a case of alleged blasphemy in 2007 when he is said to have dressed up as Guru Gobind Singh.
However, as resentment against the decision grew, the Akal Takht revoked the pardon granted to the Dera chief on October 16.
SGPC secretary Manjeet Singh, when contacted earlier in the day in connection with ‘Panj Pyaras’ summoning Takht chiefs, had said, “We are busy looking into past records to examine if Panj Pyaras had exercised their authority in a similar manner at any other point in Sikh history.”
He was not available for comment in the evening.