Akal Takht Jathedar, SGPC object to J&K HC order on Sikh Identity
Amritsar, Jan 18
Giani Raghbir Singh Jathedar of Akal Takht, the highest seat of Sikh religion and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) have objected to the Jammu and Kashmir high court’s ruling that ‘Singh’ or ‘Kaur’ surnames were not necessary for a Sikh identity.
In separate statements, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh and SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami, said the Sikh identity was not subject to worldly courts, but was based on conduct blessed by the Sikh gurus.
In a written statement issued by the secretariat of Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Giani Raghbir Singh said on Wednesday that the decision of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court regarding the requirement of ‘Singh’ or ‘Kaur’ after the name to become a Sikh voter in relation to a gurdwara election is direct attack on the separate identity of the Sikh community and it is a direct interference in the religious affairs of the Sikhs.
Giani Raghbir Singh said that ‘Singh’ and ‘Kaur’ after the names of Sikhs have a theoretical and historical basis, neglecting which to pronounce a decision about Sikh identity by a secular court is a decision that hurts the sentiments of the Sikh community.
He said that the court declaring it unnecessary to write ‘Singh’ or ‘Kaur’ in the name of a Sikh as a voter of gurdwara elections, shows the fear of indirectly opening the way for external interference in gurdwara arrangements.
The Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib asked the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee(SGPC) to take legal recourse to challenge the decision pronounced by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court regarding the identity of Sikhs. The J&K High court verdict came in a case related to the management of Gurdwara at Akhnoor.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Harjinder Singh Dhami in a statement strongly objected to the decision given by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that ‘Singh’ or ‘Kaur’ is not necessary after the name of a Sikh. He said that the definition of Sikh is not subject to worldly courts and the name of a Sikh cannot be guessed without “Singh” or “Kaur”, so the comment of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court is directly against the Sikh values.
Dhami said that although the decision of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court is related to the Akhnoor District Gurdwara Management Committee, it has violated the Sikh principles and traditions and has also hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs. No court has any right to make such a comment on a matter related to the religious conduct of Sikhs and in such cases suggestions and opinions must be taken from Sri Akal Takht Sahib and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee(SGPC). He further said that the SGPC will take appropriate action after consulting legal experts regarding the decision of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.