Amidst huge protest, the Sikhs’ highest temporal seat Akal Takht on Friday withdrew the hukumnama (edict) exonerating controversial Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The decision, announced by Akal Takht jathedar (head priest) Giani Gubachan Singh, was taken by the Sikh clergy following a marathon meeting held at Akal Takht on Friday.
An emergency meeting was called at the Akal Takht to discuss the issue in view of the growing resentment among Sikhs over the grant of pardon to the Dera chief on the charge of wearing attire similar to that of Guru Gobind Singh.
As Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib jathedar could not attend the meeting of the top clergy, his views were reportedly taken over phone before pronouncing the withdrawal of pardon.
Akal Takht jathedar, after a specially-called meeting said that the hukumnama pardoning the Dera chief on September 24 stood withdrawn as it had invited severe criticism and had not been accepted by the panth.
It was alleged that Akal Takhat had earlier exonerated Gurmeet Ram Rahim under pressure from SAD president Sukhbir Badal who wanted to win over Dera head to get his support in 2017 assembly elections. Dera has lakhs of devotees in Malwa region of Punjab from where Badal family belonged.
“Keeping in view the sentiments of the Sikh community and its ethics, Sikh clergy decide to annul its earlier edict since Dera Sacha Sauda Sect chief is not a real saint and his apology was not acceptable to Akal Takhat as well as not even acceptable to Sikh community across the world,” said Giani Gurbachan Singh in a written statement.
However, Akal Takht pardoned the Dera chief on the basis of his written apology sent through his messenger. He was accused of impersonating as Sikhs’ tenth master, Guru Gobind Singh.
Sikh community, including Sikh hardliners, religious and political outfits were deadly against the Akal Takhat decision for pardoning Dera sect Chief without his in person appearance at Akal Takhat. Since as per the Sikh rituals and norms of Akal Takht, any person committed guilt as per Sikh rituals could never be pardoned unless he appeared physically before the Akal Takhat being a humble person.
Fearing a violent reaction from the Sikh activists and students of various educational institutions, the SGPC also postponed its executive committee meeting that was scheduled to be held at Fatehgarh Sahib on Friday.