550TH Parkash Purb: Randhawa moves Akal Takht against SGPC for ignoring coordination panel

A week after he attended a meeting of the Punjab government-Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) coordination panel on joint plan of celebrating 550th Parkash Purb of Guru Nanak, cooperation and jails minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Tuesday moved the Akal Takht against the SGPC for ignoring the panel while giving invitation to the special guests, including President Ram Nath Kovind.

The panel was constituted by the SGPC on the direction of Akal Takht, highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, for coordination on organising the main function jointly at Sultanpur Lodhi on November 12.

The state government did not send its nominees for the first two meetings of the five-member panel. It sent its representatives finally in September 17 meeting that ended the deadlock between the two sides. Randhawa along with Amritsar district Congress (rural) chief Bhagwantpal Singh Sachar attended this meeting as government nominees.

However, differences again surfaced as the state government objected to the SGPC move of inviting Kovind by not taking the coordination panel into the loop. It also opposed the role being played by the SAD honchos — the Badal family— in this regard. These objections have been raised in the letter sent by Randhawa to Takht through Sachar. As Giani Harpreet Singh, acting jathedar of Takht, was not available, Jaspal Singh, personal assistant (PA) to him, received the letter.

Jaspal Singh told HT that the acting jathedar was out of country and will return on Wednesday evening. “Only he will comment on the issue,” he added.

“Following the directions of Akal Takht Sahib, we attended the meeting. This letter is about the kind of discussion held in the meeting and the activity of the SGPC witnessed after that,” said Sachar.

He said, “Grievances have been shared in the letter about the role of the SGPC. It will be made public tomorrow.”

However, Randhawa was not available for comments over phone. On September 22, the minister said the SGPC defied the directive of the Akal Takht by ignoring the coordination panel. On September 21, Kovind had agreed to attend the main function.

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