All India Sikh Students Federation has endorsed the earlier decision of the SGPC to demolish the government reconstructed Akal Takht and to re build it in accordance with the Sikh Traditions so that its outraged sanctity, preeminence and glory are once again restored. The Federation has also demanded the removal of Giani Kirpal Singh, Jathedar of Akal Takht, and Bhai Sahib Singh, Head Granthi (Chief Priest) of the Golden Temple. Both are being accused of telling lies and of deliberately misleading the Sikhs under instructions from the government.

Whatever be the political motivation of the Federation, there is a compelling logic supporting their demands. Akal Takht being the symbol of spiritual and temporal power, army attack was solely directed to undermine its sovereign character. The myth of its misuse was deliberately created, through a Machiavellian manipulation of the entire Indian media, to cloud the real intention behind the attack. Govt. wanted to destroy the historically recognized and religiously revered authority of the Sikhs which stood parallel to and beyond Delhi’s power. Akal Takht was looked upon as a kind of State within a State. Delhi could under no circumstance reconcile to Vatican style sovereignty of the Akal Takht even if its scope were to be strictly confined to religious matters, because rulers in Delhi know that Akal Takht is the source from where flows the fountain of Sikh sovereignty. So long supremacy of the Akal Takht prevails, Sikhs would never recognize or submit to any other authority over and above it. Its supremacy and its sovereignty therefore were the chief targets of the Indian government.

The government reconstructed Akal Takht would always be a grim reminder of its subjugation to outside authority. No Sikh, with even a grain of self-respect, can accept such a humiliating status of the Akal Takht. The necessity of its immediate demolition and reconstruction in accordance with the Sikh traditions cannot be over emipnasizeu. Under no circumstance can it be made subservient to Delhi or any other external power. Its inherent sovereignty has to be reasserted, whatever be the cost, if Sikhs want to keep the torch of their religion burning, if they want to tread the path shown by their Gurus. Accepting the Akal Takht, as it is, would tantamount to accepting mental and psychological slavery.

The demand for the removal of Jathedar Kirpal Singh and Bhai Sahib Singh is also rooted in the basic issue of the inviolability of the sanctity and status of the Akal Takht and the Golden Temple. Their conduct during and after the Operation Bluestar, to say the least, has not been aboveboard. That both told lies and both compromised their August positions is beyond doubt. They proved more loyal to masters in Delhi than to their own Master (Guru). Their removal, therefore, is very necessary. Equally important is the question of restoring the traditional power and glory of these exalted offices. Keeping these positions subservient to SGPC or treating the incumbents as employees of the SGPC is contrary to the fundamental concept of these institutions. These offices have to be made independent of the SGPC in the same manner as the Chief Justice is independent of the Executive head who appoints him. SGPC, being a representative body of the Sikhs, should only serve as an instrument to select the right person and should exercise absolutely no direct or indirect control over the incumbents, rather should fall within the jurisdiction of the Akal Takht like any other Sikh institution or individual. Only by keeping Akal Takht beyond and above the narrow political influences and by maintaining its sovereign character can Sikhs hope to fight all such forces as are conspiring to destroy their identity and undermine their dignity.

Article extracted from this publication >>  October 18, 1985