Amritsar, Oct 14 (UNI) The Punjab government's decision to enact a law to ban private publishing houses from printing, publishing and distributing 'Birs' (copies) of Guru Granth Sahib has forced the states oldest publishers to halt the publication of the Sikh scripture.
Jeewan Singh, Chattar Singh, a publishing house established in 1880 in the holy city today announced that it was discontinuing the publication of the scripture in view of the decision of the government. The house was the leading publishers of the Guru Granth Sahib after the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandik Committee (SGPC).
The state Cabinet in its meeting on October 10 had given in its consent to the framing of a law to ban private publishing houses from printing and distributing the scripture through the promulgation of an Ordinance.
" We have decided not to print or publish the holy book with immediate effect", Mr Harbhajan Singh, proprietor of the publishing house announced at a media conference here today.
" However we want to know from the state government whether the law will be applicable only for Punjab or will be enforced in other parts of the country", he said while pointing out that there were at least 60 odd private publishers of the scripture in the country.
The governments decision had come in the wake of representations received by the Government from various Sikh organisations, including the SGPC that had demanded a ban on publishing and printing of the scripture by private publishing houses. The SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar had even written a letter to the Chief Minister in this context.
The SGPC chief had contended that unauthorized private printing, publication, storage and distribution of the scripture was hurting the feelings of the Sikh masses and was violative of the Sikh code of conduct (maryada). The SGPC chief had contended that private publishers do not abide by the 'maryada' while publishing and printing the scripture.
The main objection of the SGPC was against the Amritsar based publishing house, Jeewan Singh, Chattar Singh. The owners of this publishing house had even been summoned to the Akal Takht a few years back, when copies discarded due to printing mistakes were recovered from a pile of 'raddi' (scrap).
Two relatives of Mr Harbhajan Singh were recently dragged and beaten inside the Golden Temple by certain hardliners when copies of the scripture published and sold by them were being transported to Delhi. The hardliners had contended that the scripture was not being transported as per the Sikh 'maryada'.