Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday rejected the appointment of Jagtar Singh Hawara, the convict in Beant Singh assassination case, as jathedar of Akal Takht and other resolutions passed by a gathering of Sikhs, including hardliners, in Amritsar.
"The gathering was called and managed at the behest of anti-Panthic elements who represent the traditional enemy of the Khalsa Panth," a group of Akali leaders said in a press statement released through the party office here.
"The presence of Congress leaders like Inderjeet Singh Zira and their workers at the gathering gave their game away," claimed senior Akali leaders Ranjit Singh Brahampura, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra in the statement.
These resolutions and the persons behind them "pose a threat to the hard-earned atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in the state", said the Akali leaders.
"The SAD also rejects the resolution which seeks to paint the Sikhs as an anti-national community. The Sikhs stand for a federal structure in the country with greater autonomy to the states," said the Akali leaders.
The leaders said they outrightly reject the right of any group of organisations to supersede the will of the 'Khalsa Panth' as expressed through their elected body -- the SGPC.
"The autocratic manner in which they have gone ahead in appointing the Jathedars of the supreme Takhats of the Khalsa Panth is against the age-old and accepted traditions and norms of the Khalsa. This is an indication of their supreme arrogance and their determination to take away from the hands of the Sikh masses the authority to do so.
"These resolutions completely undermine and destroy the legitimacy of the democratic will of the Sikh Sangat as expressed through institutions chosen and managed by their elected representatives. Every Sikh has a right to go to the Sikh masses to earn the right to manage their religious affairs but no one can arrogate to himself the right to do so through a mere self-chosen gathering," the statement said.
Several Sikh outfits and hardline groups today convened what they called 'Sarbat Khalsa', a grand assembly of Sikhs, here and appointed Hawara as jathedar of Akal Takht.
Apart from Akal Takht, which is the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs, the congregation also "removed" jathedars of two other Takhts -- Takht Kesgarh Sahib and Takht Damdama Sahib.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, mini-parliament of Sikh religion, appoints all jathedars (Sikh head priests). The hardliners and some other Sikh groups have been alleging that the ruling Badal family of Punjab controls the SGPC.
The congregation accused the incumbent Sikh head priests, appointed by SGPC, of not keeping up the dignity and traditions of Sikh institutions.