PUNJAB : A portion of the ‘darshani deori’, the main entrance leading to the sanctum sanctorum, of historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Tarn Taran was demolished on Saturday night by hundreds of activists of an outfit, Kar Sewa, a move that drew a flak from members of the Sikh community.
The ‘darshani deori’ of the gurdwara, founded by fifth Sikh master Guru Arjan Dev in the sixteenth century, was built during the Sikh Empire three centuries later.
Eyewitnesses said nearly 300 people armed with sharp-edged weapons, baseball bats, hammers and sticks started pulling down the structure built with Nanakshahi bricks at around 9pm allegedly at the behest of Baba Jagtar Singh, head of Kar Sewa’s Tarn Taran faction, who has been entrusted with carrying out ‘sewa’ (service) at the gurdwara.
Some local Sikhs and devotees tried to stop the activists who didn’t pay any heed to them continued with their demolition bid that continued for around two hours, they said. The gurdwara management or office-bearers of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex gurdwara body, failed to turn up at the spot to stop them, it was alleged. The SGPC denied having given permission to carry out demolition.
At around 11pm, a police team led by deputy superintendent of police (DSP city) Kawaljit Singh reached the spot to get the demolition stopped.
Tarn Taran SSP Kuldeep Singh Chahal said, “Since it is an internal issue between the SGPC and the Kar Sewa, we have not registered any case so far. An FIR will be lodged if we will get a complaint from the SGPC.”
Some local Sikh activists demanded a criminal case against those who demolished the structure besides arrest of Baba Jagtar Singh and threatened to launch a protest if their demands were not met.
Earlier, on September 14, 2018, the Kar Sewa activists attempted to pull down the ‘darshani deori with the SGPC nod but local Sikhs stopped the demolition bid.
Gurdwara manager Partap Singh said, “At 10:30 pm, I came to know that the activists were demolishing the structure. I immediately called up Baba Jagtar Singh to stop this. Since the SGPC had passed a resolution allowing Jagtar Singh to reconstruct’ the ‘darshani deori’ in July 2018, I didn’t lodge a police complaint.”
SGPC secretary Roop Singh said, “The apex gurdwara body has not taken any final decision on the ‘darshan deori’ as it was pending after objections from the Sikh sangat. It is a conspiracy to defame SGPC.”