Pardoning Dera Sacha Sauda head was a blunder, says acting Akal Takht jathedar

Chandigarh, October 24: A day after Giani Harpreet Singh was appointed acting jathedar of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, he said that pardoning dera Sirsa chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh (in 2015) was a “big blunder”.

In a conversation with HT over telephone, he said “the then Jathedar (Gurbachan Singh), realising the mistake, withdrew it within 10 days”. He said that the pardon was ‘gairvajab (unnecessary)’.

Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh was given charge as acting jathedar of Akal Takht after Giani Gurbachan Singh offered stepped down, citing health issues. The outgoing jathedar suffered a backlash from the Panth for pardoning the dera Sirsa head. Giani Harpreet Singh, who is expected to take charge next week, accepted that the pardon had hurt the sentiments of Sikhs.

“It is going to be a big challenge to assuage the hurt feelings of Panth,” he told HT.

On a series of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib, he said the perpetrators will be punished. “Let me take charge, I hope almighty gives me the strength to deal with all the issues concerning the Panth,” he added.

In an interview to a television channel, without naming his

predecessor, Giani Harpreet Singh said the “credibility of the Akal Takht suffered due to a person and it will be restored by a person”.