Amritsar: As announced on Thursday, the ‘Panj Pyaras’ (five beloved ones of the guru), whom the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had sacked last year, finally opened their office here on Friday. The sacked ‘Panj Pyaras’ took the step with the backing of various religious Sikh outfits including the representatives of the Khalsa, the Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Sikh Relief UK, and Ek Noor Khalsa Fauj. Notably, the radical Sikh leaders who were seen quite active in organising the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation of hardliners) at Chabba village in Amritsar last year were conspicuous for their absence during the event organised to mark the occasion.
However, former Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh was prominent among those present on the occasion. Satnam Singh Khanda, head of the ‘Panj Pyaras’, said their motive was not to challenge the Akal Takht. Explaining the purpose of the office, he stated: “We want to make the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs free from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) by uniting the Panth on a single platform.”
“We want to uphold the ‘maryada’ (Sikh code of conducts and ethics) in the real sense at the Akal Takht,” he added. While elaborating the things, Khanda said the aim was to undertake their activities “on a large scale and systematically”. He also claimed that the office was opened in respect of the strong demand of Sikhs settled across the world. Kirtani jatha, the main supporting group of the sacked ‘Panj Pyaras’, announced to give Rs 25,000 to them to run the office on monthly basis. The same group had earlier presented an Innova vehicle to them for travel purpose.
It is pertinent to mention that upset over granting pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim over an allegation of imitating tenth Sikh master Guru Gobind Singh during a congregation at his Punjab headquarters in Salabatpura village of Bathinda district in 2007, these ‘Panj Pyaras’ had revolted against Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh. Claiming to possess the authorities, the ‘Panj Pyaras’ had summoned the Jathedars (heads) of all five Takhts to appear before them, but the Takht Jathedars didn’t go by the direction.
After facing flak, the ‘Panj Pyaras’ then asked the SGPC executive to remove the Jathedars of Akal Takht, Takht Damdama Sahib and Takht Kesgarh Sahib as the three stationed at Punjab were appointed by the SGPC. The things created a high-level tiff in the high circles of Sikh community, which also involved the state politicians and the common man. As the crisis deepened, rather than going by their directions, the SGPC ordered the transfer of ‘Panj Pyaras’, and later sacked them when they did not abide by the orders. However, even after being sacked, the ‘Panj Pyaras’ kept on making people baptised touring other countries.
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