In an unprecedented move in the Sikh history, the Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib today excommunicated Prof Darshan Singh, a former Jathedar, Akal Takht, fromthe Sikh Panth.
Declaring him “permanent tankhahiya” (guilty of religious misconduct), the Sikh clergy of Takht Patna Sahib directed the Sikh Panth all over the world to snapties with him.
The two-paged Hukmnama (directive), signed by Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar, and four other granthis of Takht Patna Sahib, used extremely harsh language against the former Jathedar, Akal Takht. The step was taken after the deadline fixed by Takht Patna Sahib to appear before it by May 10 to explain his position for opposing Dasam Granth ended.
The development has come at a time when the Sikh Panth has been making preparations for the forthcoming tercentenary of the Gurgaddi Divas of Guru Granth Sahib.
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president and former president Parmjit Singh Sarna and Harwinder Singh Sarna described the action against former Jathedar Akal Takht as “most unfortunate”. They said Jathedar Iqbal Singh had no right to take such a step against Prof Darshan Singh who had rendered great service to the community after Operation Bluestar in June 1984 by performing kirtan. He (Prof Darshan Singh) was arrested and tortured in police custody, they said. They alleged that action taken against him was part of “deep-rooted conspiracy”.
Jathedar Iqbal Singh is not keeping good relations with the SGPC and Jathedars of three Takhts in Punjab. This was the reason that he (Iqbal Singh) was not being called in the meetings of Akal Takht for a long time. There was pressure on the SGPC and Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti to summon Giani Iqbal Singh at Akal Takht, yet the former had declined the demand on the pretext that Jathedar of any Takht should not be summoned.
Earlier on May 5, former Jathedar, Akal Takht, Prof Darshan Singh, had refused to appear before the Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib by May 10, the deadline fixed for him to explain his position for opposing Dasam Granth by the Sikh clergy there.
In a fax sent to Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar, Patna Sahib, Prof Darshan Singh had challenged the authority of the Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib to summon him. He said Takht Patna Sahib could deal with regional matters pertaining to Sikh religion, while Akal Takht being supreme temporal authority of the Sikhs had the power to touch matters of the entire Sikh community.
The extreme action was taken against Prof Darshan Singh though he had offered to hold debate on the issue of Dasam Granth which he believed was not Bani of Tenth Sikh Master, Guru Gobind Singh. However, he said he could not hold any talk with a person who equated other Granths with holy Guru Granth Sahib.