Harcharan Singh, a former banker with close ties with Rashtriya Sikh Sangat was appointed to manage day to day task of all SGPC secretaries. The post of chief secretary was invented just to accommodate Harcharan Singh. His monthly salary was set at Rs. 3 lakh, considereably higher than what is paid to other senior and executive SGPC members. On average, an SGPC employee makes Rs. 5,000 per month.
Despite numerous memorandums and appeals by Panthik leaders and Sikh sangat, SGPC showed no concern over the missing saroop of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. SGPC was first appealed to intervene in the matter in July 2015, however no action was taken. Four months after the saroop was stolen, local sangat recovered ‘angs’ of Guru Sahib scattered on the roads.
Following opposition and a strict stand by the Akal Takht Sahib Punj Piare to summon Giani Gurbachan Singh and other appointed Jathedars, SGPC President Avtar Makkar at once issued their suspension orders. In addition to expressing his authority to the Punj Piare, Makkar also single-handedly suspended a number of Ragi Jathas, including Bhai Harcharan Singh Khalsa.
The SGPC will this year celebrated parkash purab of Sri Guru Ramdas Ji on October 29 instead of October 9. Sikh devotees were left in confusion over the date. The decision to amend the date was taken without taking Sikh organizations into confidence. There are already confusions in the Panth over the dates of Gurpurabs of other Guru Sahibs.
5) Expressed No Solidarity with Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa or Sikh Political Prisoners
After Bhai Gurbaksh Singh, Bapu Surat Singh took charge to seek release of Sikh political prisoners. Even though the SGPC had earlier promised to take up the case of Sikh political prisoners, it failed to seek release of any prisoner. SGPC further remained distanced from the struggle of Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa, at time, even condemning it.
To divert the attention of the Sikh Sangat from the Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa, SGPC inaugurated Punjab wide “dharmik darshan yatra” in which Guru Sahib’s historical artifacts were displayed in a bus. SGPC came under huge criticism for faking several historical artifacts, including weapons and a kanga of Guru Gobind Singh Ji that were never in the SGPC’s procession. It had simply used fake artifacts and labeled them as originals.
SGPC President has refused to entertain the demand of Sikh organizations to call Sarbat Khalsa. As per Avtar Makkar, only the Akal Takht Sahib Jathedar can call Sarbat Khalsa. Sikh Sangat has resolved to meet on November 10 at Sri Akal Takht Sahib to decide upon important Panthik issues. While Sarbat Khalsa have typically taken place at Sri Akal Takht Sahib, historically, Sikhs have also joined together in jungles to deliberate upon imminent threats to the Panth, similar to one that exists today.
In August 2015, The SGPC and the All India Pingalwara Charitable Society came face-to-face. SGPC had received orders from Punjab Government that Pingalwara Stall was causing huge “nuisance” outside Sri Darbar Sahib. The stall was installed outside Sri Darbar Sahib 60 years ago to raise awareness of climate change and other environmental issues, and to fund raise for the Pingalwara organization. After growing protests, SGPC finally allowed the stall to be installed again, however at a different location.
Following Giani Balwant Singh’s allegations on the Akali Dal for working under the influence of the RSS, the SGPC took a strict notice and sacked the Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Jathedar without notice. SGPC came under huge criticism for managing the appointment and suspension at the behest of the Akali Dal.
SGPC failed completely at stopping the forced conversion of the low-castes by the right-wing fanatic Hindu factions. These organizations are responsible for targeting vulnerable Sikhs living in poor conditions. While SGPC sabotaged growing parchar in Madhya Pardesh by American Sikhs, it did nothing to stop the “Ghar Vapsi” of the people in Punjab.Sikh24 Editors can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org