Chandigarh — Mr. Harcharan Singh Mahalon, Jathedar of Takht, Sri Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib, has questioned the silence of the jathedar of the Akal Takht and other high priests on the bravery awards given to Army personnel by the President on March 24 for their role in Operation Bluster.

In a signed statement issued in English and brought here by a messenger on Wednesday evening, the jathedar said that several people had met him and had pressed him to request the jathedar of the Akal Takht and other high priests to “‘intervene sincerely”’ in the matter of honoring Army personnel. The Army personnel had been honored for “killing innocent people in the Golden Temple,”’ Mr. Mahalon said.

The statement by Jathedar Mahalon signals an open rift among the high priests which was indicated earlier in the controversy over the exoneration of Mr. Zail Singh and excommunication of the Union minister, Mr. Buta Singh. The rift is significant because the jathedars of Patna and Nanded takhts have already expressed differences with the five high priests more than once (besides Jathedar Mahalon, the other four high priests are the Jathedar of the Akal Takht, Giani Kirpal Singh, the Jathedar of Damdama Sahib, Jathedar Lakha Singh and the two head grant his of Darbar Sahib and the Akal Takht, Giani Sahib Singh and Giani Pritam Singh.

In his statement, Jathedar Mahalon also said that being a Sikh, Mr. Zail Singh had committed a “‘Dharmik’’ crime by presenting the awards to the army personnel for their role in Operation Bluster.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 19, 1985