FATEHGARH SAHIB, Punjab—A year after stepping down from the membership of Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar (SADA), Bhai Dhian Singh Mand’s name remains listed as the Vice President of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) on its official website. During Sarbat Khalsa 2015, moments before Bhai Dhian Singh Mand was appointed as the interim Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib, he announced to step down from membership of the SADA. As his name continues to be listed on the SADA website, his replacement is also yet to be named.
Since Jathedar Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara is incarcerated in the Tihar Jail, Bhai Dhian Singh Mand was appointed as his acting Jathedar. After the Sarbat Khalsa, many people questioned the integrity of the Sarbat Khalsa organizers, especially because the Sarbat Khalsa 2015 was organized with the joint efforts of SADA and United Akali Dal and its VP presumed a key position.
To this date, meetings for Sarbat Khalsa 2016 and Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar have continued to take place together. In addition, several of SADA rallies have been organized under the banner of “Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar and Sarbat Khalsa Jathebandis”. The move that has been condemned by Sikh leaders.
During the Panthik meeting in Chandigarh organized by the suspended Akal Takht Sahib Punj Singhs, the speakers shared criticism of such meetings. “Sarbat Khalsa is the unification of all Sikh organizations, what sense does it make to organize rallies under the banner of Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar and Sarbat Khalsa jathebandis? Does it mean that Akali Dal Amritsar is above rest of Sikh organizers,” said one of the speakers at the meeting on October 18.
This past week, the Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar also faced criticism when it made a 150 member committee to organize Sarbat Khalsa 2016. As per a press note issued on Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar’s website, it was stated that the committee has been released as per the directions of Jathedar Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara. Most members of the committee consisted of SADA and United Akali Dal leaders.