Sikh leaders hail revocation of pardon to Dera Head

Various Sikh leaders on Friday hailed the decision of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion, which annulled its edict of pardoning Dera Sacha Sauda Sect Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, saying the move has undone the "highly objectionable" act committed earlier.

PTI| Updated: Oct 16, 2015, 17:28 PM IST

Chandigarh: Various Sikh leaders on Friday hailed the decision of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion, which annulled its edict of pardoning Dera Sacha Sauda Sect Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, saying the move has undone the "highly objectionable" act committed earlier.

"It is a good decision taken by the Akal Takht. It has undone the mistake which was committed earlier (by pardoning Gurmeet Singh from blasphemy charges)," former general secretary of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) Kiranjot Kaur said today.

"Sikh Sangat has shown that the earlier decision of Akal Takht was not acceptable at all to the Sikh Panth (community). That is why the earlier edict (hukamnama) has been withdrawn. I hope it should be a lesson for everyone that nobody has the right to violate the Sikh maryada (traditions) while sitting at Akal Takht," said Kaur, a member of SGPC.

"You cannot pardon anyone by just accepting one's (written) clarification," she asserted.

However, she said it was a basic principal of the Sikh religion that anybody could be pardoned if forgiveness has been sought with full honesty.

SGPC general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, "I welcome the decision of Akal Takht which was announced today."

"The earlier decision of pardoning Dera Head had hurt the sentiments of Sikhs. Never had such thing happened when a sinner's clarification was accepted and he was pardoned," Bhaur said.

However, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said, "it has to be seen whether annulling the edict was as per Sikh Maryada (traditions)."

Bowing to pressure from the Sikh community and hardliners, the Akal Takht today annulled its edict pardoning Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Singh in a 2007 blasphemy case.

Various Sikh leaders had earlier expressed displeasure over the Akal Takht's decision to pardon Gurmeet Singh calling the move as "betrayal to Sikh community".

They had described it as a "highly objectionable" act and "politically motivated" move, saying Dera Head was pardoned despite the fact that he did not seek any apology.

On September 24, Jathedar of the Akal Takht Giani Gurbachan Singh had announced pardoning Gurmeet Singh, who had been at loggerheads with the Sikh community for allegedly hurting their sentiments by appearing in a dress like the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, at Bathinda in 2007.

Violent clashes had broken out between Dera followers and Sikhs in parts of Punjab at that time.