CHANDIGARH India: The five-member “Panthic Committee” today appointed three of its own nominees as “Jathedars” of Akal Takht, Keshgarh Sahib and Damdama Sahib.

In a written statement issued here, the Committee named Baba Gurbachan Singh Manochahal who heads the “Bhindranwale Tigers Force” as “Jathedar” of Akal Takht; General Labh Singh who leads the “Khalistan Commando Force” as “Jathedar” of Keshgarh Sahib and Mr. Avtar Singh Brahma who commands the “Khalistan Liberation Force” as “Jathedar” of Damdama Sahib.

The statement was signed by Gurbachan Singh Manochahal, Mr. Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, Mr. Kanwarjit Singh Sultanwind, Mr. Dalbir Singh and Mr. Dalwinder Singh.

It branded Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode and the ousted set of Head Priests as well as Mr. Harcharan Singh and four others appointed by the S.G.P.C. Executive in their place as “agents of the Government” and accused them of misleading the Sikhs. The statement pointed out that the S.G.P.C. had been “dissolved” by the “Sarbat Khalsa” held by the militants at the Golden Temple Complex on January 26, 1986, and as such its actions were meaningless.

The committee also named Bhai Darshan Singh Sahnewal as Head Granthi of Harmandir Sahib and Bhai Dilbagh Singh as Head Granthi of Akal Takht.

The statement warned that if any of the Head Priests named today sought to support the “Government scheme sponsored by Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, he would be replaced’ by Bhai Sukhdev Singh Jhamke, another leader of an underground militant organization.

In an apparent reference to media reports about the death of Mr. Avtar Singh Brahma in Pakistan due to a bullet injury, the statement accused the Government of carrying out false propaganda against him. “We are trying to establish contact with him”, it said.

The statement made it clear that the appointments had been made on a temporary basis till the militants could convene a “Sarbat KhaIsa” on the issue.

The “Panthic Committee” reiterated its commitment to the cause of “Khalistan” and cautioned the Sikhs against being “misled” by the SGPC or Bhai Jasbir Singh who might convene a “Sarbat Khalsa” to end the status of the “Panthic Committee” and rescind the declaration of “Khalistan” and work for a settlement within the Indian ‘Constitution for something like “pooran azadi”, “Khalsa raj”, “Anandpur Sahib Resolution” or a“Jand Ktype status for Punjab”.

Article extracted from this publication >> June 24, 1988