The simmering tensions among various political factions in the Sikh community came to a boil once again when three parallel “jathedars” appointed by radical groups in 2015 issued summons to Deputy Punjab Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, and also sent out a directive asking Sikhs not to participate in the June 21 Yoga Day events as it was not in keeping with their religion.
The three have asked Sukhbir to appear at the Akal Takht by July 20 to explain the government’s alleged inaction in solving cases related to desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib reported from various parts of Punjab last year.
The ‘jathedars’ were appointed at a controversial “Sarbat Khalsa’ called by radical groups last year, challenging the existing leadership at the Akal Takht, Takht Damdama Sahib and Takht Keshgarh Sahib.
Making a dramatic entry at the Akal Takht premises Friday evening, the three — Dhyan Singh Mand, Baljit Singh Daduwal and Amrik Singh Ajnala — spent 30 minutes there. They read out five ‘gurmatas’ (resolutions) inside the Akal Takht. The sudden action by the Sarbat Khalsa-appointee jathedars took the SGPC and Amritsar police by surprise.
Later, they read out the resolutions for media at the Golden Temple Plaza, with the SGPC making futile attempts to stop the proceedings.
The first was the summons to the deputy chief minister over the Bargari desecration incident and Behbal Kalan firing episode. “No accused of sacrilege incidents held at different places, including Burj Jawahar Singh Wala and Bargari, and killing of Sikh protesters in firing at Behbal Kalan, has been arrested so far. Sikh masses angry over the inaction. Being home minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal is being directed to submit investigation report of these incidents till July 20,” the resolution read.
The Jathedars also asked the Sikh masses to stay away from the World Yoga Day celebrations and said there was no place of Yoga tradition in Sikhism. “Sikh should observe this day by reciting Gurbani, playing Gatka (Sikh martial art) and sports and participating in wrestling,” said the Jathedars.
They also summoned members of Gurdwara management committee of a gurdwara in Virginia, US on August 20 for allegedly tampering with the Sikh Code of Conduct.