India Parties Set To Defy Akal Takht Edit On Keeping Politics Out Of Jor Mela


1947-2014 (Archived)
Parties set to defy Akal Takht edict on keeping politics out of Jor Mela

Sanjeev Chopra Posted: Sat Dec 25 2010, 23:25 hrs Patiala:

Turning a deaf ear to the recent edict of the Akal Takht jathedar for keeping Jor Mela free of any kind of political activity and for serving only simple food at ‘langars’, political parties are all set to woo the masses at the annual fair and defy the edict.

While politicians admit there should be no political activity at Jor Mela in Fatehgarh Sahib, keeping in view the religious sanctity of the event, which is organised to commemorate the martyrdom of the two younger sahibzadas of the tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, political parties don't want to let go of the opportunity to woo the public at the big congregation.

Going by the arrangements being made by various political parties, such as the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Akali Dal (Panj Pardhani) in setting up political stages at Jor Mela, the Akal Takht edict (hukamnama) in this regard may be rejected by politicians of the state.

SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar said politics should not be manifest at the solemn commemoration of the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas. Also admitting that people indulged in ostentation at the langars, he said steps would be taken to check such practices and obey the Akal Takht hukamnama.

When asked, Punjab Congress chief and former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said, “We are not defying the sanctity of any event. We are holding our political conference not at a religious place and neither are we keeping the Guru Granth Sahib in our pandal. It is our right to talk to the masses present at the mela and we would be doing so with full strength.”

On the other hand, SAD General Secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra maintained, “We have always kept politics away from religion and have maintained the decorum at our political congregation by not making inflammatory political speeches at Jor Mela. Our stages are set only to pay tributes to the martyrdom of the younger Sahibzadas - Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh."

Other Congress leaders claimed their congregation is also meant to pay tributes to the Sahibzadas. However, Capt Amarinder Singh alleged that the Akalis are holding political conferences inside the gurdwara precincts and, by doing so, they are misusing religious places for their own political ends.

Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh had issued an edict earlier this month that politics should be kept out of Jor Mela. He had also stated in his hukamnama that the public should keep the activity simple and solemn to match the occasion of the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas, thus no lavish food be served in the langars put up on the occasion.

Hundreds of people are still coming forward to put up langars (free community kitchens) in the city to mark the occasion from December 26 to 28. The authorities are, however, not giving permission for use of loudspeakers to organisers of langars this time around, to avoid announcements of lavish langars.

Fatehgarh Sahib SSP Ranbir Singh Khatra confirmed to The Indian Express that no permission was being given to langar organisers for use of loudspeakers this time. The Akal Takht edict had come in the wake of reports of lavish langars where delicacies like jalebis and kheer were served during the three-day mela in the past and the announcements to this effect were made on loudspeakers to woo the public.


1947-2014 (Archived)
What is Jor Mela?

Shaheedi Jor Mela is organised every year in December at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, in the Fatehgarh Sahib district of Punjab to pay homage to the martyrdom of Baba Zorawar Singh ji and Baba Fateh Singh ji, the youngest of the tenth guru of sikhs Guru Gobind Singh's four sons.