The Indian Express – Panel formed by SGPC in 2015 to remove, appoint jathedars nowhere in sight

Only one meeting of this panel was conducted, shortly after formation at Anandpur Sahib

Kamaldeep Singh Brar

Amritsar, 23 April 2017. An expert panel was formed by Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to set the rules and regulations for the appointment and removal of jathedars at Sikh Takhts, immediately after the controversial unceremonious removal of then Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Balwant Singh Nagar in 2015.

However, this expert panel was nowhere in picture when Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Giani Gurmukh Singh was removed and replaced by Harjeet Singh on Friday.

The expert panel was formed by the SGPC executive committee on January 21, 2015, to lay down rules and regulations for the appointment and removal of the jathedars. Only one meeting of this panel was conducted, shortly after formation at Anandpur Sahib. Since then, no meeting of the panel has been held.

The then SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh was coordinator of panel. “I had called first meeting of the panel after the formation. Only one member, Balkar Singh from Patiala, attended it. I had asked all the panelists to give their suggestions via e-mail on appointment and removal of jathedars.

I retired a month after this meeting and since then I have no information about any development.”

The incumbent SGPC Secretary Rup Singh said he was not aware of the panel.

Balkar Singh, a historian, said, “Yes, I had attended that meeting. But it was the only meeting that was conducted and I never got an invitation for any meeting after that. There has been no communication with SGPC on this issue since that meeting”.

“I have so many suggestions. But two most important things are that there should be no political interference in the appointment and removal of the jathedars.

Second, there should be a panel of names to select a jathedar. But again as they did yesterday, they adopted a pick-and-chose formula. I am not questioning calibre of the new jathedar, but the name should had come out of a panel of candidates.”

Gurmukh Singh is not the first jathedar to be removed unceremoniously. Eight others have been similarly removed and appointed in the absence of any regulations since 1988.

Panel formed by SGPC in 2015 to remove, appoint jathedars nowhere in sight

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