Amritsar —  The five Sikh high priests on Sunday directed all members of the Sikh community not to use or mention their caste or sub caste with their names or otherwise. Mr. Kirpal Singh, Jathedar of the Akal Takht, told newsmen that the decision was taken at a meeting of the high priests on Sunday. He said mention of cast or sub caste was against the tenets of the Sikh religion and a “gurmata’”’ to this effect already existed. The members of the community were all “Sikhs” and the religion did not have any caste differences, he added. Mr. Kirpal Singh refused to disclose any other subject discussed at the meeting and said only religious issues were taken up.

Though he did not specify the reason behind this directive, it is believed that the recent controversy about the issuing of hukamnamas against non Jats and the excommunication of Mr. Buta Singh, Union Minister, who belongs to the Scheduled Caste, are responsible for the reiteration of the Sikh tenets. There was a controversy in some quarters that while some Jat Sikhs, who had also gone against the directives of the high priests in recent months, had been excused, Mr. Buta Singh was chosen for action.

The high priests had often said that caste was not a criteria for action and Mr. Buta Singh was punished because he did not present himself before the Akal Takht as directed by them.

Meanwhile, Bibi Rajinder Kaur, president of the Istri Akali Dal, in a statement to the press said the terms of reference of the inquiry ordered into the Delhi riots were limited and should be widened to include identification of culprits and the erring policemen. She also demanded that all those persons against whom charges were being leveled should be removed from their present positions so that they were not able to influence the inquiry in any way.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 10, 1985