Allegation of Violating Maryada After seeking apology, SGPC now says matter between Mann and Almighty
The remarks by Dhami came on a day the Shiromani Akali Dal expelled SGPC member Baldev Singh Chunga from the party for six years.
Two days after asking Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to seek an apology from the Sikh community for allegedly visiting a gurdwara under the influence of liquor, the SGPC Monday said it will not take “any further action” as the matter is “between the person and almighty”.
“What can we do or say further. Almighty will punish for any violation of religious code of conduct. It is matter between the person and the almighty,” said Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Harjinder Singh Dhami.
The remarks by Dhami came on a day the Shiromani Akali Dal expelled SGPC member Baldev Singh Chunga from the party for six years. Chunga had honoured Mann at Takht Damdama Sahib and had refuted party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal’s claim that Mann was drunk while visiting the Sikh shrine at Talwandi Sabo.
“I honoured Mann along with other SGPC officials. I would have known had he being drunk. I would have stopped him right there if it were the case. But there was no such thing. He might have been tired,” Chunga told
The Indian Express hours before he was expelled from Akali Dal.
Dhami, however, said that Chunga was doing politics over the issue. “He has spoken against the SAD leadership in past too. He is just pursing his politics,” Dhami said.
Mann had visited the shrine on April 14. The same day Sukhbir accused him of visiting Takht Damdama Sahib under the influence of liquor, an allegation that was strongly denied as “false and baseless” by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party.
The apex gurdwara body demanded apology from the CM saying that his visit was a violation of ‘Sikh maryada’ (code of conduct) and against the reverence of the Guru’s house. In a joint statement, SGPC senior vice-president Raghujit Singh, junior vice-president Surinder Singh and general secretary Karnail Singh Panjoli said, “Punjab CM forgetting the reverence of the Guru’s house is not only an insult to the constitutional post but it is also the height of immorality. Mann should immediately apologise to the Sikh world and should take care of the Sikh sentiments and the ‘maryada’ of the Guru’s house”.
Delhi BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga on Saturday had said he has filed a police complaint against Mann for entering the Sikh shrine in inebriated condition
This is not the first time that the SGPC has found itself at loggerheads with the elected government in Punjab, especially when the ruling dispensation is not led by the Akali Dal. The SGPC was at loggerheads with the pervious Congress government in state on certain issues, especially during the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji, but the apex Sikh body’s leadership never led any personal attack on then CM Captain Amarinder Singh or his successor Charanjit Singh Channi. At the same time, there were allegations from within Congress that the party government was soft on Akali Dal and Badal family.
It was expected that AAP government and SGPC would clash, given their political history.
Earlier, a case was registered on March 17 against Badal family-owned Punjabi channel’s managing director and others under charges of running a prostitution racket. The serious nature of allegations led to an outcry on social media and pressure was mounted on SGPC to snap the ties with channel, which was accused in the past of having monopoly on the live telecast of Gurbani from Harmandir Sahib. Akal Takht jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, who also faces criticism for allegedly sheltering Badal family on various issues, had to step in. He asked SGPC to arrange for the live telecast of Gurbani on its own before June 6.
Following the case against the channel, Mann offered to bear all the expenses on the behalf of state government for live telecast of Gurbani. SGPC took no time to refuse the offer and accused CM of interfering into the religious matters. At the same time, SGPC also asked Mann to coordinate with Centre to remove the obstacles so that SGPC could start its own channel as soon as possible.
Dhami claimed that case against channel was conspiracy. “It is clear that case against the channel is part of calculated conspiracy. We have already formed a committee to look for alternatives,” he said.