Amritsar, Jul 31 (PTI) Several ‘Akhand Pathis’ (Sikh priests) today held a protest demanding an increase in their salaries at the Golden Temple complex here. ‘Akhand Pathis’ perform the ‘Akhand Path Sewa’ (the continuous recitation of sacred religious texts of Sikhism) at gurdwaras.
During the protest in front of the ‘Akal Takht’, they accused the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) of not accepting their demand. Angrej Singh, a priest who was leading the stir, said the protest was launched against the alleged apathetic attitude of the SGPC towards the demands of ‘Akhand Pathis’, who were denied salary hike.
“The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) during the assembly elections had promised to increase the salaries. But the SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar did not announce any hike,” Angrej said. He claimed that around 2,000 ‘Akhand Pathis’ were “under paid”.
“The SGPC is running big medical institutions, including hospitals and medical colleges, and except the ‘Akhand Pathis’, all SGPC employees are entitled for treatment at no cost,” he said. SGPC executive member Ram Singh said there was no need for any protest as such issues could always be resolved through dialogue. Singh said a 15-member committee had been formed to look into their demand.
The ‘Akhand Pathis’ have announced that they would withdraw their protest after an assurance that their demand would be looked into. Former deputy chief minister and SAD president Sukhbir Badal and his wife Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who were here, described the protest by the ‘Akhand Pathis’ as “highly unfortunate”.
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