Perneet Singh, Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 15. The meeting of the Sikh clergy ended on an inconclusive note here today. Terming the controversy over Operation Bluestar Memorial as an internal matter of the Sikhs, the high priests said nobody should be allowed to publicly air views on the matter.
Addressing mediapersons, Akal Takht chief, Jathedar Gurbachan Singh said nobody had the right to issue “unnecessary statements” on the row.
He said the SGPC and the Damdami Taksal would be asked to sit across the table and resolve the issue. He said they had received suggestions from various quarters which too would be discussed before a decision was arrived at.
The chances of the matter being resolved before Operation Bluestar anniversary on June 6 appear slim. On the demand by some political parties that plaques with Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s name be removed, he said: “It is our internal matter and we will decide on it.”
Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh and Golden Temple’s Head Granthi Giani Mal Singh, expressing their personal views, said they were in favour of retaining plaques with Bhindranwale’s name.
Takht Patna Sahib Jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh refused to comment on the matter. He, however, said the young generation of Sikhs was in favour of retaining Bhindranwale’s name.
Asked about the Operation Bluestar anniversary, the Akal Takht chief said it would be observed at Akal Takht and not the memorial. There would be ‘Gurbani path’ at the memorial, which is in the form of a gurdwara, but akhand path would not be held there. He ducked queries on the memorial row apparently, hinting that the clergy did not want another controversy before June 6.
The SGPC and the Taksal have been at loggerheads for the past fortnight over Bhindranwale’s name on plaques installed at the memorial. Earlier, the Dal Khalsa had submitted a memorandum, requesting the Akal Takht Jathedar to resolve the memorial row “keeping the collective will of the community and historical traditions in mind.” Dal Khalsa leader Kanwarpal Singh blamed SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar for creating the controversy with his “unnecessary statements.”
The Sikh clergy also discussed the demand by non-Sikh communities that they be allowed to perform marriages as per the Sikh rituals (Anand Karaj). The Akal Takht chief said they would put forth the matter before Sikh intellectuals before taking any decision.