Takht chief shows up days after row
In an attempt to bridge the communication gap with the Sikh community following the controversial pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief on September 24, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh today led the community in paying homage to those killed in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Addressing mediapersons here, Gurbachan Singh said the riots were genocide and November 2 should be observed as ‘ardas diwas’. “The victims haven't got justice. The Modi government should expedite the inquiry and punish the guilty,” he said.
It was the Jathedar’s first public appearance days after the Panj Pyaras adopted a ‘gurmatta’ (resolution) demanding the resignation of the five Takht heads for pardoning the dera chief in an alleged blasphemy case.
After the controversy, the Akal Takht Jathedar didn't even participate in functions organised to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Ram Dass in the second week of October. On October 20, he made his first public appearance at Golden Temple to attend 'ardas' over sacrilege, but the situation turned embarrassing for him as devotees and a section of the SGPC employees shouted slogans against him. The pardon, however, was withdrawn on October 16 following massive protests from various quarters.
On October 21, Panj Pyaras Satnam Singh Khanda, Mangal Singh, Major Singh, Bhai Satnam Singh and Bhai Tarlok Singh summoned the high priests to appear before Akal Takht on October 23 to clear their side in the dera case. As none of them turned up, the Panj Pyaras passed another 'gurmata' directing the SGPC to withdraw the services and duties assigned to them. Hours later, the Panj Pyaras faced suspension, which was later revoked. But the Panj Pyaras remained adamant on the removal of the Takht heads.
The 1984 Sikh Katle-Aam Peerat Welfare Society (Punjab), meanwhile, took out a protest march.