Jathedars to stay, says SGPC chief
The SGPC today made it clear that the Takht jathedars would not be removed. The premier Sikh body left it to the Akali Dal-led government to deal with the contentious issue of “parallel jathedars”.
Talking to the media after chairing an executive meeting, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said it was for the government to handle the issue of “parallel jathedars”. He avoided queries on controversial issues saying it was not the right time to take up such matters.
He said: “The SGPC-appointed jathedars are here to stay. The government should look into the issues related to the so-called Sarbat Khalsa and the decisions taken thereof.” On the issue of transfer of Panj Pyaras, who have not joined at the new place of posting, he said the matter would be handled as per rules.
In the executive meeting, the members came down heavily on Makkar and other office-bearers for “arbitrarily” spending the committee’s money.
The executive committee rejected the controversial proposal to give Rs45,000 house rent in addition to Rs3 lakh monthly salary to its Chief Secretary Harcharan Singh, a close confidant of Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal.
The executive met in a peaceful atmosphere where the contentious issues of Sarbat Khalsa, appointment of “parallel jathedars” and transfer of Panj Pyaras were not taken up, although the issue of Chief Secretary charged up the atmosphere a bit.
The executive curtailed the Chief Secretary’s powers in allotting contracts for different works. He has been told that his decisions, including those having financial implication, needed to be ratified by the executive committee.
The members questioned the expenditure of Rs91 lakh on advertisements in the media issued to justify the grant of pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief. Sources said the members were peeved as to why the SGPC did not give advertisement to justify the rollback of the decision.
Clearing 8 per cent DA for 10,105 employees of the SGPC, the members said the welfare of the citizens and the employees of the SGPC and religious preaching should be the top priority of the committee.
Feeling cheated, say Panj Pyaras
Amritsar: The Panj Pyaras have expressed disappointment with the SGPC ignoring its directions of removing Takht jathedars at its executive meeting on Thursday. One of the Panj Pyaras, Satnam Singh Khanda says, "We have been betrayed by the SGPC as we were told that the issue of removing five Takht heads would be decided during the executive meeting. We had taken a stand which would take its course in the court of 'sangat' (Sikh community) only." Executive member Karnail Singh Panjouli claims he had raised the issue removal of Takht jathedars in the meeting, but it was overlooked with Makkar saying that a three-member committee has been formed to look into the matter.