On 5th January 2017, during the 350th Prakaash Utsav (birth anniversary) celebrations, Giani Iqbal Singh, along with Harnam Singh Dhumma and three other Singhs from Takht Sri Patna Sahib, stood before the Sangat, where Iqbal Singh proclaimed he was issuing an edict to the Panth.
Since then, the controversial ‘Hukamnama’ has been propagated by Sikh2Inspire and Jagowale group in the UK, who have already been exposed to have links with Dhumma who has clear ties with the RSS and anti-Sikh Badal establishment. There are claims that Sikh2Inspire and Jagowale group had asked Dhumma’s right hand man, Charanjit Singh Jassowal, to pressurize Iqbal Singh to use his authority to undermine the Sikh Rehit Maryada followed at Sri Akal Takht Sahib.
Iqbal Singh’s controversial edict is being seen as a way to further split the Panth on the basis of maryada. The edict asks all Sikhs to reject the Akal Takht Sahib’s ruling on Raagmala and makes it mandatory for the entire Panth.
The Sikh Rehat Maryada which is followed at Akal Takht Sahib states that the collective Panth has not reached a conclusion on whether it is the Guru’s work or not. Iqbal Singh further labelled all Sikhs who do not adhere to this edict as “enemies of the Khalsa” and asked the Sangat to boycott them.
In issuing such an edict, Iqbal Singh has undermined the supremacy of Sri Akal Takht Sahib again, and played into the hands of anti-Sikh forces which seek to hijack the Panth with their personal Maryada and agenda, which is being led by Harnam Singh Dhumma with the support of Prakash Badal and the RSS. Dhumma verbally endorsed the edict at the same event.
The edict of Iqbal Singh was made under the false pretense of respecting Gurbani and Sri Dasam Granth, but this is far from the truth. Iqbal Singh, clearly misused and hijacked the 350th Parkash Purab celebrations of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, and used controversial issues of the time to create divisions in the Panth and undermine the supremacy of Sri Akal Takht Sahib, and playing into the hands of anti-Sikh forces.
Hall of Shame: Giani Iqbal Singh
Iqbal Singh, born in 1959, became a Granthi at Sri Harmandir Sahib, Patna Sahib, in 1985. In August 2000 he was appointed as the Jathedar of Takht Sri Patna Sahib.
The management of Takht Sri Patna Sahib remained in the hands of the Mahants from 1797 to 1930, and then the supervisory committee and trustees appointed by district judge Patna, looked after its management. In accordance to the constitution passed by district judge of Patna Sahib, the fifteen-member committee that manages and controls the Takht includes 3 nominated district judges of Patna, and 1 nominated member of the Sanatani Sikh Sabha, Patna City. This illustrates governmental and non-Sikh influences in the management and control of the Takht Sahib.
- Charged of Polygamy
2 March 2002: The Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, announced that without divorce, second marriage by a Sikh is violation of the ‘Sikh rehat maryada,’ approved by the S.G.P.C. and Sri Akal Takht.
Jathedar Vedanti refused to accept the plea of Iqbal Singh that polygamy was prevalent in the past and acceptable in Sikhi. He justified his behaviour by falsely claiming Guru Gobind Singh Ji had three wives, and that Maharaja Ranjit Singh who is called ‘Singh Sahib’ had more than one wife.
- Accused of Infidelity
8 May 2008: His ex-wife gave a video interview in which she claimed that Iqbal Singh had an affair with Amritpal Kaur, the President of Istree Satsang Sabha, whilst they were together. She accused Iqbal Singh of having an immoral character. When his wife challenged him, she claims Iqbal Singh beat her on three occasions.
- Banned from Jathedar meetings for undermining supremacy of Sri Akal Takht
6 June 2008: Iqbal Singh was scolded by the Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib for challenging the supremacy of Akal Takht Sahib, and was therefore banned from attending the Takht Sahib meeting. The Singh Sahibs that gathered at Sri Akal Takht Sahib accused Iqbal Singh of misusing his authority as Jathedar. It said Akal Takht, being the temporal authority of the Sikhs, had the sole right to resolve the common Panthik matters.
In a “Gurmatta”, the Singh Sahibs said all other Takhts could only take up regional matters, not Panthik. Iqbal Singh was criticized for raising issues regarding Dasam Granth, which were declared unwarranted.
Furthermore, the Gurmatta urged the Sikh Sangat to ignore the directives being issued by Iqbal Singh as Jathedar Patna Sahib. By passing the resolution, the Singh Sahibs imposed an undeclared ban on the entry of Iqbal Singh in the meetings of Akal Takht.
- Honored Badal with “Panth Rattan Fakhr-e-Quam”
5 December 2011: Iqbal Singh, along with the then Jathedars, Giani Gurbachan Singh of Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Giani Tarlochan Singh of Takht Sri Kesgharh Sahib, Giani Joginder Singh -Vice Jathedar of Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib Nanded Sahib, and Giani Jaswinder Singh -Head Granthi of Sri Darbar Sahib, awarded Prakash Badal with “Panth Rattan Fakhr-e-Quam” for his “contribution to the Sikh faith and community”. Prakash Badal is widely recognized as the primary cause for the drugs, alcohol and police brutality issues in Punjab. Not to mention the rife corruption that pervades at all levels of his administration.
Gave clean chit to Radha Soami Dera
2 August, 2012: The Radha Soami Dera was given a clean chit in a meeting attended by Giani Gurbachan Singh, Jathedar of Takht Kesgarh Singh Tarlochan Singh, Takht Damdama Sahib Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Takht Patna Sahib Jathedar Iqbal Singh and Giani Jagtar Singh, Granthi Sri Darbar Sahib. The then Jathedars of the Takhts gave a clean chit to Radhasoami Dera Beas for the demolition of Gurdwara in Waraich village in Amritsar. No representation of Sri Hazoor Sahib participated.
- Attended RSS function in violation of Sri Akal Takht Hukamnama
August 2014: Iqbal Singh attended an event of the RSS in Mumbai where the Head of RSS, Mohan Bhagwat, threatened minorities living in India (which includes Sikhs) saying that Hindutva will swallow them up.
In 2004, Sri Akal Takht Sahib issued a ‘Sandesh’ (a message to the Panth) to boycott the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its offshoot, the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, for their continuous anti-Sikh activities that seek to undermine and destroy Sikhi.
After a string of serious anti-Sikh activities that came to light in the wider Sikh community, Sri Akal Takht Sahib called for the boycott, which meant no Sikh was to interact or support the RSS or anyone affiliated to it, in any manner.
It is clear that Iqbal Singh has violated the 2004 ruling of Sri Akal Takht Sahib and betrayed the Panth.
- Dismissed as Takht Jathedar by Takht Sahib Management Committee
17 March 2015: During Prakash Utsav of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji on 7 January 2015, a violent clash took place at Takht Sri Patna Sahib after the Takht Sri Patna Sahib Management Committee announced a new additional Jathedar, Giani Partap Singh.
When the announcement was made, Iqbal Singh and his followers stood up on stage, causing a violent clash. As a consequence, the Takht Sahib Management Committee dismissed Iqbal Singh as a Jathedar of the Takht.
- Pardoned anti-Sikh cult leader, Gurmeet Ram Rahim
24 September 2015: Despite the martyrdom of 3 Sikhs and countless other Sikhs in jail or pending legal cases in relation to the controversial Dera of Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the Jathedars announced a decision to pardon him.
The letter seeking “forgiveness” by Ram Rahim is said to have been prepared and sent under political guidance of the Punjab Government led by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).
It is notable that in May, 2007 Gurmeet Ram Rahim had conducted an activity in his cult, resembling the Amrit Sanchaar custom, in which he dressed up like Guru Gobind Singh wearing costumes like him.
Giani Gurbachan Singh has said that Gurmeet Ram Rahim is pardoned after accepting his alleged apology.
The actual letter of Ram Rahim did not seek forgiveness, instead emphasized that he had not impersonated any Guru, Saint or Prophet. The meeting of the Jathedars was attended by Giani Gurbachan Singh (Jathedar Sri Akal Takht Sahib), Giani Mall Singh (Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib), Giani Iqbal Singh (Jathedar, Takht Sri Patna Sahib), Giani Ram Singh (Jathedar, Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib) and Giani Gurmukh Singh (Jathedar, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib).
- Sarbat Khalsa rejects Jathedar
15 November 2015: The Sarbat Khalsa gathered and announced that all Takht Jathedars are guilty for conducting anti-Panthik activities. The Takht Jathedars were rejected.
However, only the three Takhts within Punjab, were replaced with new Jathedars. In accordance to the Sarbat Khalsa, Iqbal Singh, has no authority to address the Khalsa Panth as a Jathedar.
- Defended insulting comments about Mata Gujjar Kaur Ji
December 2015: A video went viral of a Pakhandi Baba, Satnam Singh Pipli of the Neeldhari group, in which he is doing Katha of Guru Gobind Singh Ji leaving Anandpur Sahib. In the video he claimed that Guru Gobind Singh Ji threw all his wealth in the River Sirsa because it is the money of the Sangat. At this point he claimed that Mata Gujjar Kaur Ji insisted Guru Ji give her some money, at which point he shamelessly says that Guru Ji curses his mother, Mata Gujjar Kaur Ji by saying “Gujri Ujri.”
Rather than summon and punish Satnam Singh Pipli, Iqbal Singh used the Takht Patna Sahib stage during Katha to defend Satnam Singh Pipli by saying he only quoted Suraj Prakash and that is what happened.
On 25 December 2015, Gurmukh Singh, a Badal appointed Jathedar of Sri Damdama Sahib, said to the media that the unforgivable sin of Satnam Singh Pipli has been justified by Iqbal Singh and furthermore transformed the 350 years celebrations into part of an anti-Sikh agenda.