—Once again showing its dictatorial attitude in the management of the historic Sikh shrines, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today barred members of the Sikh organizations including Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committee from gathering in Manji Sahib Diwan Hall situated in Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) complex on the issue of missing saroops of Guru Granth Sahib.
This comes a day after the members of these organizations announced to hold their gathering on the premises of the supreme Sikh shrine on September 14 to finalize their next course of action to get justice in the case of another big sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib, after the Bargari sacrilege incident. The SGPC imposed restrictions on this gathering stating that these activists are staging “protest”, which is not fair for the maryada and sanctity of Sri Darbar Sahib.
“Darbar Sahib is a holy place and proper Gurmat maryada is followed here. So, any kind of demonstration cannot be permitted here at any cost”, said Gobind Singh Longowal, president of the SGPC.
He said, “Instead of playing politics on the issue of holy saroops, can the Satkar Committee members tell us first about the whereabouts of the saroops taken away by them from different places in the name of disrespect of Guru Sahib. They should first give clarification to the community in this regard and give the entire detail”.
The SGPC chief also made an appeal to Giani Harpreet Singh, SGPC-appointed jathedar of Akal Takht Sahib to intervene into the matter to secure clarification from them and set a committee to get the details of the whereabouts of the saroops.
The Sikh organizations made the announcement on Thursday after meeting at Gurdwara Attari Sahib at Sultanwind in Amritsar to intensify the stir against the SGPC. They also declared to launch an indefinite Morcha (agitation).
These organizations are adamant to reach Manji Sahib Diwan Hall. “The SGPC chief is telling a sheer lie. You can read the history, this Diwan Hall is an eyewitness to several morchas launched for the dignity of Sikhi, rights of Punjab, and respect of Guru Sahib in past. So, I appeal to the community not to bother the SGPC’s statement and reach there with enthusiasm”, said Sukhjit Singh Khose, Tarlochan Singh and Balbir Singh Muchhal, all are leaders of the Satkar Committee, in a video message released today.
Notably, they are particularly highlighting the fire incident that took place in Guru Granth Sahib Bhawan at Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib, where the holy saroops are printed, in May 2016. They also lodged a complaint to Amritsar Police Commissioner Sukhchain Singh Gill telling him that this incident massively damaged the holy ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib but the SGPC hid this fact to save the then regime of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) from the public wrath at the time when it was facing backlash from the Sikh masses over Bargari sacrilege issue.
The SGPC had stated that a total 14 saroops were damaged in the incident—five were burnt and nine got damaged during fire control operation. However, as per the inquiry conducted by Advocate Ishar Singh-led inquiry panel, it failed to produce the record to prove this number, while an office note of the SGPC clearly mentions that as many as 80 saroops were damaged by this incident.