Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, who had refused the union government’s offer of Z category security, has now consented to having the cover under the condition that the guards must be from his own religious community. He said he would accept only ‘Sikh’ security personnel as it will be easy for them to understand the religious code of conduct.
What is worse than the communalism of the Sikh cleric is the fickle secularism of the state that has accepted his condition! Six Sikh security guards from the CRPF have been deputed for the protection of the Akal Takht head. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee task force, attached with the Jathedar, will continue to escort him.
Once the full brigade joins the jathedar’s security cover, some will be deputed at his house and office at Talwandi Sabo, some outside the Akal Takht secretariat in Amritsar and the rest will escort him during his programmes outside in a separate vehicle.
The security guards had been directed neither to enter any gurdwara nor the Jathedar’s office, the report added.
Akal Takht is the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, and jathedar is its appointed head. On 3 June, the Jathadar had declined the security cover, saying it would have hindered his interaction with the public for propagating the Sikh religion. The Akal Takht head said he came to know about the Centre’s decision through the media.
He, however, thanked the government for its offer. “I am thankful to the Centre for sparing a thought for the well-being of Akal Takht Jathedar, but I urge the government to take back the decision, if it was so,” he said.
“Travelling with Z category security is not feasible for me,” the Akal Takht head said.
Home ministry officials said the decision to accord the country’s second highest category security to the Sikh religious leader was taken in view of the enhanced threat perception.
On May 28, Bhagwant Mann-led state government had curtailed the security of 424 persons, including withdrawing half of the security of Jathedar. Jathedar had then returned the remaining three personnel as well.
Even though his security was restored, he refused to accept it saying Khalsa Panth and Sikh youths are enough to guard him.