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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 26, 2007
Sikh scholars see ray of hope in resolving Dera crisis in Punjab
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Sikh scholars see ray of hope in resolving Dera crisis in Punjab

Sikh scholars are visualising a ray of hope for re-establishing peace in Punjab in the wake of the nearly fornight-long crisis between traditional Sikh believers and representatives of the Dera sacha Sauda sect that functions from the neighbouring state of Haryana.

By Ravinder Singh Robin

Amritsar, May 26 : Sikh scholars are visualising "a ray of hope" for re-establishing peace in Punjab in the wake of the nearly fornight-long crisis between traditional Sikh believers and representatives of the Dera sacha Sauda sect that functions from the neighbouring state of Haryana.

The scholars are of the opinion that if Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh apologises to the Sikh Panth and gives an assurance on not to preach against the Sikh community and Sikh tenets, some sort of compromise could be worked out by the Sikh clergy to neutralise the aggressive tone of of the May 20 "resolutions" to implement the "Gurmata" issued on May 17 from Talwandi Sabo.

Sikh scholars have said that the "Hukamnama" neither can be withdrawn, nor can it be amended. The "Gurmatta", on the other hand, can be amended, they add.

A recent example was the May 17 Gurmata pronounced by the Jathedar of the Akal Takht, Joginder Singh Vedanti, which was amended within minutes. That led to reducing the proposed arrest of Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh from ten to three days.

According to the Encyclopedia of Sikhism, "Gurmata", i.e. Counsel or Resolution is adopted by the Sikhs at an assembly held in the name of the Guru concerning any religious, social or political issue. The Hukamnama" applies to edicts issued from time to time from the Five Takhts or seats of high religious authority for the Sikhs- the Akal Takht.

Guru Hargobind Sahib, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, was the first to issue a Hukamnama from the Akal Takht Sahib, asking Sikhs to wear arms in self-defense. Since then, several Hukamnamas have been issued.

The "Gurmata" of May 17says that "Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh should close down all Dera Sacha Sauda branches in Punjab and the one at Sabalatpura in Bathinda by May 27,.otherwise next course of action against the Deras would be taken on May 31."

Professor Sulakhan Singh, the head of the Department of History at the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), said that in the 18th century, Sikh from all sections assembled at the Akal Takht to determine the consensus of the community on matters affecting its solidarity and survival. In those days, the Sikhs assembled at Akal Takht on Baisakhi and on Diwali and took counsel together in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib to plan a course of action to ward off eminent danger or in pursuit of a common objective, and final decision emerging from the deliberations was the "Gurmata".

He, however, said that the Hukamnama is an order given by the Akal Takht, which is to be implemented by the Sikh community in toto.

He further said that "If we talk of probability and proximity in the present situation, the resolution pronounced by Akal Takht Jathedar on May 20 could be considered for amendment after a favorable reply from the Dera chief."

While endorsing Professor Sulakhan Singh's views, Dr. Gurbacchan Singh Bachan, former Secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC), said that there are provisions of flexibility in "Gurmata" as opposed to the "Hukamnama".

He said that resolutions, which were made with the opinion of Sikh organizations to implement the "Gurmata", could be amended from time to time to achieve the goals assigned by the Akal Takht.

Dr. Balwant Singh Dillon, Head, Department of Guru Nanak Studies, GNDU, said that the "Gurmata" should be considered almost like the "Hukamnama".

The resolution pronounced by the Akal Takht could be considered for further discussion if the Akal Takht felt so. However, he said the edict directing the Sikh Sangat to boycott of Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh neither could be amended nor withdrawn.

ANI

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