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Nepal Sikhs in a fix over Patna Sahib Jathedar’s directive on kar sewa

The Sikhs in Nepal are facing a predicament ever since Takht Sri Patna Sahib Jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh’s recent visit to that country which sparked a controversy about the upkeep of gurdwaras there.

Talking to The Tribune, Nepal’s Gurdwara Guru Nanak Math member Bhag Singh said Giani Iqbal Singh had rejected the Akal Takht move of handing over the responsibility of “kar sewa” at Nepal gurdwaras to a US-based society.

He said the then Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti had during his tenure in 2006 given the responsibility of kar sewa to a US society. However, the recent development has led to a confusion among the Sikhs in Nepal on whether they should follow directions of Akal Takht or Takht Sri Patna Sahib. He said he had brought the matter to the notice of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh. When contacted, Giani Iqbal Singh said no organisation could carry out the “kar sewa” at gurdwaras there without a nod from the Nepal Government. He claimed the Nepal government hadn’t allowed any organisation to look after the gurdwaras there.

He said the US-based society could not produce any document to substantiate that it had been formally handed over the “kar sewa” at Nepal shrines. He also claimed that the gurdwaras in Nepal came under the direct supervision of Takht Sri Patna Sahib, but Vedanti took the decision without consulting them.

He said they would seek approval from the Nepal Government, following which the “kar sewa” will be entrusted afresh. He said Sarbat Da Bhala Trust chief SPS Oberoi was keen to maintain gurdwaras in Nepal and he would be entrusted with the responsibility after getting a nod from the Nepal Government. On the other hand, former Akal Takht Jathedar Vedanti said Giani Iqbal Singh had no right to reject the Akal Takht move.

He said if Takht Sri Patna Sahib Jathedar had any objection to his decision, he should have talked to him instead of going public over the issue.

He said Akal Takht was the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs and its directions were accepted by the Sikhs across the globe.

Meanwhile, Giani Iqbal Singh’s move is being seen as the one virtually challenging the supremacy of Akal Takht.

The root cause

  1.  Ex-Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti (right) entrusted the “kar sewa” responsibility at Nepal gurdwaras to a US society in 2006
  2. Patna Sahib Jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh (left) visited Nepal recently and rejected the arrangement
  3. This has led to a confusion among the Sikhs there as to whether they should follow directions of Akal Takht or Takht Sri Patna Sahib

*Tribune Media

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