October 17, 2015 2:55:36 am
More than 20 days after pardoning Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a 2007 blasphemy case, the Akal Takht — the supreme temporal seat of Sikhs — Friday revoked its decision on the grounds that it was rejected by the Sikh community.
At a special meeting held at the Akal Takht, the Sikh clergy headed by Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh decided to annul its earlier decision, issued on September 24, since it was not acceptable to the Sikh community by and large.
“Keeping in view the sentiments of the community, the Sikh clergy decided to annul the earlier edict as the Dera chief is not a real saint and his apology is not acceptable to the Akal Takht,” said Giani Gurbachan Singh in a statement.
The U-turn by the Akal Takht comes on the day the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) appealed to Sikhs, through advertisements in vernacular newspapers, to support the Gurmata (decision) to pardon the Sirsa dera head.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim was charged with blasphemy after allegedly wearing an attire similar to that of Guru Gobind Singh at a religious congregation at the dera’s headquarters in Bathinda district on May 13, 2007.
The withdrawal of the pardon brings back into focus the 2007 edict to boycott the Dera Sacha Sauda sect and its followers. The Sikh clergy on Friday also referred to the Dera head as an ‘Asad’ (fake sant) as opposed to Spetmeber 24, when they addressed him by his name.
“The Guru Panth has not accepted the Gurmata passed on September 24 in which the Dera Sirsa head was pardoned. Closely observing the sentiments of the Khalsa Panth, we have called this urgent meeting on October 16 to cancel the Gurmata. The Five high priests of Takhts are committed to maintain honour of Guru Granth Sahib and Guru Khalsa Panth,” reads the press note issued by the Akal Takht.
It is also the first time that the Sikh clergy have withdrawn their own decision. Earlier, some edicts issued by former Akal Takht Jathedar Puran Singh were cancelled by his successor Joginder Singh Vedanti. Puran Singh was accused of issuing edicts on the direction of the RSS.
In the same press note, the priests slammed the police firing on Sikh protesters.
They want SGPC to legally fight the cases filed against Sikhs and compensate the families of the two Sikhs killed in police firing. The Takht has termed them martyrs.
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