AMRITSAR: Prominent seminary Damdami Taksal has decided not to participate in the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ convened by various Sikh religious and political bodies on November 10 in Amritsar. Going by the aspirations of a majority of common Sikhs and religious bodies, the Taksal has demanded removal of jathedars of Takhts, who are its former students, and at the same time it has refused to extend support to ‘Sarbat Khalsa.’
Talking to TOI , Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa said, “We are not participating in the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’.” He said the time was not apt for convening ‘Sarbat Khalsa’, but to bring unity among various factions within Sikh groups and hold serious deliberations on restoring the pride of Guru Granth Sahib that was hurt due to acts of sacrilege by anti-social elements. “First of all we have to resolve these issues and then ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ can be convened,” he said.
On the other hand, extending support to ‘Sarbat Khalsa’, Panthic Sewa Lehar founder Baljeet Singh Daduwal said, “‘Sarbat Khalsa’ is the voice of conscience of common Sikhs aimed at creating unity among them and to reach at a consensus on religious issues, including deciding the area of jurisdiction of Sikh priests, their selection and removal norms, besides discussing on the issues being faced by Panth.”
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) general secretary Jarnail Singh Sakhira said, “Yes, there is a clear divide between saints. One side of Sikh saints is independent and enjoys support of the Panth while another is pro SAD (Badal).” SAD (Amritsar) is one among several groups that have given call for ‘Sarbat Khalsa.’
Sakhira said all Sikh organizations, which had given call for ‘Sarbat Khalsa’, would meet at Jalandhar on Saturday and from Sunday onwards preparations to hold the congregation near Baba Naudh Singh Samadh on Tarn Taran road would begin.
He said prominent Sikhs saints and groups, including Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwala, Panth Preet Singh, Ranjit Singh, Damdami Taksal (Ajnala faction) and Darshan Singh were part of ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ while Khalsa-led Gurmat Sidhant Parcharak Sant Samaj opposed the congregation.
Sikh think-tank Kuldeep Singh said, “‘Sarbat Khalsa’ will see a vertical split between Sant Samaj, which will be unfortunate.” He said Sikh intellectuals, saints and academics shouldn’t be taking sides but maintain a neutral gesture in the society. “This kind of ‘Sarbat Khalsa,’ which has already divided community will not solve any purpose and rather further deepen the religious crisis,” he said.
Source : Times of India