After he drew flaks for making negative remarks over the heritage structure found during excavation work at Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple), the SGPC-appointed acting Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Harpreet Singh has changed his stance over the issue.
In a fresh statement, he said, the devotees visiting the holiest Sikh shrine should be made aware about the dismantling of heritage, which was carried out by the Government of India after 1984 around the shrine complex to increase its control over it.
He said the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) should make the devotees aware as to how governments have tampered with Sikh heritage. “We don’t want such structures to be tampered with. We have suggested to SGPC chief Jagir Kaur to preserve this structure. The structure should be kept out of the new building of jora ghar so that it can draw the attention of the devotees and they could learn that once there were glorious buildings constructed by the Sikhs in old past,” said Giani Harpreet Singh.
Prior to this, indirectly said, on July 19, that there was no need of preserving this structure. “Actually it was a private property called ‘Bunga Gianian’, which was vacated by the family of Gianian after taking compensation from the Indian government in 1988. When the building was demolished, nobody made hue and cry over this, nor did anyone deter the demolition”. If we have found one-two rooms now, noise should not be made over it, because nobody is erecting his or her personal building there. The building is being constructed at the site just to facilitate the devotees visiting Sri Darbar Sahib. There will be a big advantage of these arrangements to the devotees”.
While making this statement, the jathedar ignored the contribution of Gianian’s family and its ancestors including Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s contemporary Giani Sant Singh who was the then head granthi of Sri Darbar Sahib.
He invited criticism by making such a statement that showed his “indifferent” attitude toward the heritage building of the Sikh religion.
The structure found at the site for Jora Ghar, Gatthri Ghar and Two-wheeler parking is underground two rooms which are made of small bricks, also called Nanakshahi bricks. All the historians and heritage experts have opined that this structure is historic and was built during the Misal-period. As Maharaja Ranjit Singh established Sikh Kingdom in Punjab and surrounding areas, he handed over it to Giani Sant Singh, the then head granthi of Darbar Sahib.