Says Bhai Jasbir Singh

AMRITSAR, Punjab, India: Akal Takht Head) Priest, Singh Sahib Bhai Jasbir Singh said that only the militants can have a talk with the Center, in case he received any invitation. Talking to newsmen at the Golden Temple. Singh Sahib said that the Head Priests would not join the talks as being religious heads. When asked if any precondition will be imposed before talks, the Akal Takht Chief said that it was for the freedom fighters to decide.

The Head Priest was evasive on the spate of questions by the pressmen on his views on Khalistan which was defined as a final goal by the freedom fighters in a Sarbat Khalsa held on January 26, 1986. He stuck to his stand that all the decisions taken by Sarbat Khalsa in his absence would be reviewed. He, however, made it clear that only a Sarbat Khalsa can make any changes in earlier decisions made by the Sarbat Khalsa. He said that there was no denial that Sarbat Khalsa has declared the Khalistan as the ultimate goal. But remarked, he has a building plan. It remains to be seen how to construct a house. Bhai Jasbir Singh maintained that all the issues of Khalistan and Anandpur Sahib Resolution, passed by a convention. Convened by the former acting Akal Takht Chief, Prof. Darshan Singh which seeks a place as a part of India where the Sikhs could experience a glow of freedom would be discussed with the freedom fighters. Bhai Jasbir Singh charged that the government had gone back on its promises made to the Sikhs at the time of independence. He said that the community was deprived of “Puran Azadi”, remaining problems like Chandigarh, water share, territorial dispute and discrimination against the Sikhs cropped up later.

About the authority of the Panthic Committee which was formed by the freedom fighters’ convened Sarbat Khalsa on January 26, 1987 which authorized the committee to lead the community in the religious and political matters, Bhai Jasbir Singh said. All these matters need to be reviewed, he added. In a significant move, he formed a team of his own new confidants to go into the allegations of misuse of the Golden Temple Complex and to clean it of the antisocial elements. But he refused to disclose the names of his proposed team. He said that the team has already started functioning. The Head Priest in a speech at a function in the Golden Temple, earlier referred to the reports in the national and foreign news media about the extortion of money and torture of the people in the Golden Temple Complex. He said that it has lowered the dignity of the Sikhs and given a bad name to the holy place.

Article extracted from this publication >> March 18, 1988