Plea for women to perform kirtan: SGPC slams assembly resolution, Akal Takht non-committal

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Friday slammed the resolution the Punjab Vidhan Sabha passed unanimously a day before asking the Akal Takht and the apex gurdwara body to allow women to perform kirtan at the Golden Temple.

Even as the Shiromani Akali Dal-controlled gurdwara body president Gobind Singh Longowal criticised the assembly’s move, acting jathedar of the Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of Sikhism, remained non-committal on the issue. Asked about his view on the resolution, Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh said, “I will look into the matter once it comes to me.”

Replying to a question on the sidelines of an interfaith dialogue organised at the Golden Temple to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal said only the gurdwara body has the prerogative to take decisions on religious issues.

Longowal said, “It is all about maryada (religious decorum). Such resolutions should not be passed in the Vidhan Sabha by any political party. These issues come under the purview of the SGPC, a democratically elected body of Sikhs. Our general house takes call on all religious issues pertaining to Sikhism. There should not be any political talk in this regard and no one should political benefit out of it.”

On Thursday, the resolution was moved by state rural development minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa on the second and concluding day of the special assembly session convened by the state government ahead of the 550th Parkash Purb.

The resolution was supported by the members of the ruling Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Lok Insaaf Party (LIP).

‘Let jathedar take decision on issue’

SAD patriarch and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who was also in Amritsar on Friday, said, “It’s up to the Akal Takht jathedar to take a decision on the issue.”

The Congress government and the SGPC have already been at loggerheads over the joint celebrations of the main function at Sultanpur Lodhi. Both have set up separate stages for celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

On the interfaith dialogue, Longowal said, “Representatives of different religions took part in the gathering and all of them extolled Guru Nanak saying it is the need of the hour to adopt his ideology.”

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