Sarbat Khalsa at Chabba historic, but may have been hijacked

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| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 11 Nov 2015 | Asia Samachar |
The Sarbat Khalsa gathering at Chabba, Amritsar, on 10 Nov 2015. Some quarters are questioning the lack of transparency that went into the 13 resolutions passed.
The Sarbat Khalsa gathering at Chabba, Amritsar, on 10 Nov 2015. Some quarters are questioning the lack of transparency that went into the 13 resolutions passed.

The massive show of force by the Sikhs for the gathering termed Sarbat Khalsa at Chabba, just outside Amritsar, was historic in its own right but has been tainted with allegations of it being ‘hijacked’ by certan quarters.

The gathering passed 13 resolutions which included the removal of the jathedar of Sri Akal Takht, asnwering the call of Sikhs worldwide who are fed-up with the perceived shenanigans at the heart of the Sikh power-base in Amritsar.

The 10 Nov gathering, planned as a Sarbat Khalsa, was not allowed to be held at the Akal Takht by the powers-that-be.

It also called for revival of the Shiromani Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC)’s ‘democatic representation system to manage the internal Sikh affairs which have been suspended by the state over the years’.

Numbering into a few hundred thousand, some quarters are concerned that the Sarbat Khalsa had been ‘hijacked’ by sections that had control over its planning, primarily politicans like Simranjit Singh Mann, who was today arrested by the Punjab police.

Some segment of the Sikh community had voiced their reservations that such an event could easily be hijacked as there does not seem to be robust debate and discussions on the resolutions passed.

Jagtar Singh Hawara, who was convicted in the assasination of former Punjab chief minister (CM) Beant Singh and currently undergoing life-sentence at the Chandigarh jail, was appointed as jathedar of Akal Takht.

In his absence, Bhai Dhian Singh Mand, a former Member of Parliament and reported to be a close associate of Simranjit Singh Mann, would serve on his behalf.

Amrik Singh Ajnala was appointed as jathedars of Takht Keshgarh Sahib while Baljit Singh Daduwal as jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib.

“The conclave, which was dubbed as being a ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ by the organizers was tightly controlled by associates of Simranjit Singh Mann, and ex-Damdami Taksal spokesman, Mohkan Singh, and had already prepared the resolutions in advance and pre-selected the names of the new “Jathedars” that were to be announced,” according to a report at SikhNews.net.

“Over the past few days many representatives of other organizations had complained about the lack of transparency and structure in formulating the resolutions and selection of ‘Jathedars.’ The actual resolutions and names of individuals to be announced were kept confidential by the organizers and not shared publicly until the last minute, the report add.

“This type of clandestine behavior by the organizers had infuriated many of the attendees who saw this as an once in a lifetime opportunity for the Sikh community to retake control of its destiny, but their objections were either ignored or dismissed.”

The Sikh News Network claims to be an independent news dessemination subsidiary of the Khalsa Press, and does not rely on advertisements, donations or assistance from any organisation or institution.

SEE FULL STORY HERE

The Sarbat Khalsa also took a dig at two key leaders in Punjab. In Resolution No4, it nullified some awards presented to Punjab chief minister (CM) Prakash Sighh Badal and SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, and declared that they, together with Badal’s son Sukhbir Singh Badal, were ‘guilty of undermining and misusing the Sikh institutions of Panj Piare and Akal Takht Sahib’.

The move is in line with the sentiments of a slice of the Sikh population who are keen to dismantle the power base of Badal, a long-time Punjab leader who is said to have extensive connections to all sorts of enterprises.

A team of 5-men representing some 100 Sikh organisations from the United States and Canada was also present at the gathering.

In a press note dated Nov 6, the North American Sikh (NAS) said the delegation attented the gathering for ‘two sole purposes: dialogue on how to establish independent Akal Takhat Sahib and revive Sarbat Khalsa tradition.’

SEE NAS RESOLUTION HERE.

The two objectives were the ‘direct outcomes of a day long deliberation amongst diverse Sikh organisations’ on 31 Oct in Yuba City, California at a North American Sikh Summit ‘where a consent was manufactured through open and civil dialogue’.

“The decision of the Akal Takhat and its Jathedars affect all Sikhs globally, and for that matter alone, we want to assert the inclusion of global Sikh sangats in the process,” the statement quoted delegation coordinator Harinder Singh.

The other members included Manjit Singh Uppal, Manjit Singh Brar, Resham Singh and Yadwinder Singh.

There were no known representation from Sikh outfits in Southeast Asia. However, Sikh organisations in Malaysia and Hong Kong had organised peaceful gatherings express their anger on the recent incidents of beadbi of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Punjab.

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Respected Editor Sahib,
    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa,Waheguru ji ki Fateh.

    It was indeed refreshing to read your article on the Sikh Gathering (SG). The whole of the Sikh Community worldwide has been hurt beyond imagination, at the evil and despicable deeds of the unidentified enemies of the Sikh Religion. The reaction of the community was vocal as expected, but to their credit, it was totally peaceful, for which those leading the protests deserve to be congratulated.

    Whenever incidents of this nature take place there is always a hidden hand behind it and there are thousands of out of work politicians jumping in to take advantage of the crisis and try to make political capital out of it. As expected this also happened in this case.

    I am 65 years old and since the Punjabi Suba days of 1960-1966 have been a keen participant and observer of Sikh affairs. Unfortunately the history of this period is full of incidents where the bravery and steadfastness of the Sikhs was used to try and destroy the Sikh religion and to advance the political agenda of the politicians.

    Coming back to the present, this whole thing started with someone stealing a copy of the Holy Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji about three months ago. The police, unfortunately, was unable to recover the Stolen Holy Book or arrest any of the culprits.

    Then came the fiasco of the forgiving of the misdeeds of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Gurmit, by the Jathedar of the Akal Takht without any consultation with the Sikh Panth. Immediately protests arose from the Panth at the unacceptable action of the Jathedars in connivance with the Badals and the Shiromani Akali Dal (B).

    This whole incident was not handled sensibly by the SAD, The Badals and the Jathedars, who, appeared to all, to be nothing but the servants of the Badals and not of the Panth.
    As if on cue, once the calls against the Jathedars and Badal heated up, the next part of this despicable saga started. Mischievous element started the desecration of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib hurting further the sentiments of the worldwide Sikh Community.

    The whole community rose as one, as expected, against this evil, despicable and unbearable desecration. This was further aggravated when the police fired on peaceful protesters killing two and injuring many others. Living up to their corrupted nature, the police arrested some innocent people, accusing them of the desecration, which was soon found to be a cooked up story. Protests against this started and eventually the police released the innocent youths.

    The online media which has been long used by the anti-Badal elements, had a hey-day, condemning and cursing Badal, accusing him of all kinds of deeds, many of them untrue and others questionable.

    Then came the turn of the Indian National Congress, which suddenly was more pained than the Sikhs themselves, with Rahul Gandhi and his Punjab Congress cronies, started visiting Punjab and the families of those killed and wounded in the police firing. A Congress MLA also resigned from the Legislative Assembly.

    Then started the calls for the Sarbat Khalsa. The Akalis rejected the calls and the Akal Takht Jathedar made a ruling that the Sarbat Khalsa could only be held at the Akal Takht. This was read by most Sikhs as the handiwork of the Badals. This was further aggravated when the Akal Takht was denied to the people so that the Sarbat Khalsa could be held there.

    The organisers countered by choosing the village of Chabba, to hold the Sarbat Khalsa which was renamed “mass gathering” instead. This was further aggravated when Governmental machinery was used to try and stop the people from reaching the venue of the gathering. This was instead taken as a challenge by the participants, who used all kinds of ways and methods to bypass the obstacles and reached the venue in their hundreds of thousands.

    Now let’s turn to what happened at the gathering. It was very peaceful, where not a single case of violence was reported. For this, the attendees and the organisers must be congratulated. There were the usual introductions and speeches, some fiery others not so fiery. Then the 13 Resolutions were read out and the people were invited to give their assent by uttering the Sikh war-cry. Surprisingly no was invited give their opinion or speak on the resolutions before they were presented for passage.

    What happens next? What is the path Sikhs and their leaders should follow? That will be discussed in the next comment.

  2. In a conversation on this article at another Facebook platform, three readers had made the following comments – EDITOR

    Reader 1: Thank you for this perspective. As much as we yearn for change and freedom from the politicising of our sacred institutions, we need to be weary of the presence of other political elements seeping in to this revolt.

    Reader 2: I guess you must be right. Politics is probably at play, in the name of Sikhi. It will take a bit of reading and talking to a diverse group of people to figure out the politics at play.

    Reader 3: what a wasted opportunity….appears to have been hijacked by some, the elected jathedaars were neither of panthic substance nor have had any proper higher education – doubt any of them could speak any english, and one is a self proclaimed sant ?….all josh / anger / revenge drowns all hope for amicable solution. Youths today are pretty tired of this let alone asking them to wake up amrit vella for prayer. Is there still any educated and gallant leader that punjab can offer ?

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