Akal Takht rejects Takht Patna Sahib verdict on Nanakshahi calendar

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Amritsar, Jan 25 (UNI) The Akal Takht today outrightly rejected the edict issued by Takht Patna Sahib Jathedar, Giani Iqbal Singh questioning the authenticity of the Nanakshahi calendar, which has been accorded recognition by the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the Sikh clergy or Panj Payaras (five beloved ones of the Guru) held at the Akal Takht secretariat in the Golden Temple complex here.

The Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vidanti presided over the meeting which was attended by Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Takht Keshgarh Sahib Jathedar Tirlochan Singh, Head Granthi of Harmandir Sahib Gurbachan Singh and Giani Mal Singh, a priest of the Golden Temple.

A statement issued at a media conference after the meeting stated that the edict issued by Giani Iqbal Singh on January 23 at Patna was an attempt to "mislead and create confusion in the minds of the Sikh community".

Giani Iqbal Singh in his edict had also called for bringing about certain changes in the morning and evening prayers of the Sikhs. In the edict he also outrightly called upon the Sikh community to reject the Nanashahi calendar and to follow the Vikrami calendar, which the Sikhs had been following before the Akal Takht gave its approval to the new Sikh calendar some years back.

The statement signed by Giani Joginder Singh claimed that Giani Iqbal Singh had no right to take decisions that concern the entire community all by himself. "Such decisions are only taken by the Akal Takht, which is the highest temporal seat of Sikhism", the statement added.

Later replying to questions by mediapersons, the Akal Takht Jathedar claimed that Giani Iqbal Singh had himself at a meeting of the heads of the five Sikh Takhts on November 11, 2003 stated that only the Akal Takht had the right to decide on matters concerning the entire Sikh community.

Giani Joginder Singh after deliberations with the clergy has summoned a meeting of the clergy on February five to further discuss the matter concerning Giani Iqbal Singh and other religious issues.

Invitation in this regard will also be sent to the Jathedar of Takht Hazoor Sahib in Nanded (Maharashtra), but not to Giani Iqbal Singh.

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