Eighty birs of Guru Granth Sahib were burnt in a 2016 fire at the SGPC’s publication department, a purported SGPC document, which was released to media by the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) on Wednesday, said. SGPC had earlier claimed that only five birs were burnt and nine were damaged due to water used to dodge the fire.
While the SGPC note in Punjabi clearly said that 80 birs were burnt and cremation was held for all 80 later, the Sikh body is yet to react to this information.
“We are investigating letter,” said a SGPC official.
PHRO activist Sarabjit Singh Verka had earlier alleged that many birs had got burnt in fire at publication department building in 2016. Verka had also alleged that SGPC did not reveal the exact numbers that time as elections were around the corner. The SGPC is the only publisher of birs of Guru Granth Sahib.
An Akal Takht probe last month had found that 328 birs were missing from publication department. After this probe, SGPC had initiated action against some of its officials.
Verka has now demanded that SGPC must file a police complaint against those who allegedly hid the actual number of birs burnt in fire.
Dal Khalsa too hit out at the SGPC leadership for hurting sentiments of Sikhs. Party spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh demanded that the Akal Takht probe report be made public, and those indicted by the panel subjected to police interrogation to find out the truth. “The inept handling of the situation leaves no one in doubt that persons occupying top posts in the SGPC are unfit and untrustworthy. The stoic silence of Badal Parivar, who otherwise is the de facto controller of the SGPC, is mystifying,” he said.