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Controversial War Over Private Printing Of "Birs" Intensifies


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
War over private printing of "birs" intensifies
by I P Singh

JALANDHAR: The issue of private printing of 'birs' of Guru Granth Sahib with spelling mistakes has taken another embarrassing turn for Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar as Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) has lodged a complaint against him and three others with Jalandhar (rural) police for registering a case under Jagat Jot Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Act 2008.

The complaint was submitted to SSP (rural) Ashish Chaudhary by a delegation led by T{censored}m Singh, chairman of Dharam Parchar Committee of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Managing Committee. It named Makkar, a Ludhiana-based printer and Phagwara resident Sulakhan Singh Johal and his son Manbir Singh Johal, who got the 'birs' printed.

The complaint has been submitted in Jalandhar as two of these printed 'birs' were presented at a SGPC-controlled gurdwara in village Sang Dhesian, near Goraya, in Jalandhar district. The complaint alleged that the Act specifies that only SGPC was authorized to print the 'birs' but in this case 'birs' were printed illegally at a private printing press in Ludhiana with the active connivance of SGPC president.

The complaint signed by Balwinder Singh Bhullar has demanded that a case be registered against the Makkar and three others as they had clearly committed an offence under the provisions of the Act.

SAD (Delhi) Youth Wing president Gurdip Singh Gosha revealed that when they first came to know about these 'birs' at Sang Dhesian gurdwara, he called up Manbir Singh Johal, who confirmed that they got the 'birs' printed from Ludhiana after getting Makkar's consent.

T{censored}m Singh said that Makkar's complicity in the matter was more than evident as he constituted a committee to examine the 'birs' after these reached Sikh Reference Library on March 23. "When printing the 'birs' at the first place was an illegal act, why did he not get a case registered as the Act was passed by the state government after SGPC had pressed for it," he questioned.

"The committee then gave its findings on April 4 but Makkar instead of taking action sat over the report," he said. Delhi Sikh Gurdwara management Committee and SAD (Ddelhi) leaders alleged that several 'birs' with golden ink were printed and each 'bir' was sold at a price of Rs 2 lakhs.

When contacted, Jalandhar (rural) SSP Ashish Chaudhary said that DSP Phillaur would probe the matter see that if any offence was made in their jurisdiction. "If the issue would pertain to some other jurisdiction, the complaint would be referred to the authority of that area," he said.


I have taken the step of correcting the use of the word "birds" in lieu of "birs" in four places in the new article. This was brought to my attention by an SPN forum member. Letter to the editor regarding the error sent. spnadmin


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004

JALANDHAR/PHAGWARA: The printing of some birs of Guru Granth Sahib by an NRI and their subsequent Parkash (installation) in at least three gurdwaras, two of which are under SGPC control, has created a controversy as some mistakes have been pointed out.

The published birs have some spelling mistakes while some pages have been left blank.

Though these birs have already been handed over by the gurdwara managements to SGPC, a controversy is raging with Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Managing Committee (DSGMC) demanding a clarification and apology from SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.

DSGMC Dharam Parchar committee chairman T{censored}m Singh had alleged that the birs were printed after a consent given by Makkar and that owning its responsibility, Makkar should resign. However, Makkar has denied giving the permission.

The Jagat Jot Sri Guru Granth Sahib Act promulgated by the state government in 2008 banned printing of Guru Granth Sahib by any private publisher except SGPC.

However, the NRI and his Phagwara-based associate Sulakhan Singh Johal, a businessman, got the birs printed from a private publisher, but it is not known from where.

Enquiries revealed that the two birs printed with gold-mixed ink were given at historic gurdwara in Sang Dhesian village near Goraya, gurdwara Sukhchainana Sahib, Phagwara -- both under SGPC control -- and Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Model Town, Phagwara, on Baisakhi day.

"The bir was brought by an NRI and Johal and we were told that printing of one bir cost them Rs 2 lakh. However, the granthi of our gurudwara pointed out that there were some spelling mistakes in the bir and some pages were also left blank. We then advised him to keep it closed and a few days back, SGPC officials took it away," said Satbir Singh Walia, president of Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Phagwara.

Former SGPC secretary general Manjit Singh Calcutta said that either Makkar should bring out the truth or Akal Takht jathedar Gurbachan Singh should order an enquiry to fix responsibility.

However, when contacted, Makkar said the NRI and his associate had come to him and said that they wanted to get the birs printed with golden ink. "I told them that firstly, the five high priests should be consulted. I never gave them consent for printing. Later on, they got it printed on their own. When we came to know, I consulted three experts, who said there were some mistakes in the bir," he said.

"I have asked SGPC secretary to submit a detailed report on the issue. After the inquiry, SGPC could file a criminal case as private printing of the bir was illegal," said Makkar.

The NRI, whose name is not known even to gurudwara managers, and Sulakhan Johal have reportedly gone abroad following the controversy, sources said.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
and it is a war

Probe Sought Into Sacrilegious Birs

AMRITSAR: The Dal Khalsa, a radical outfit, has sought a time* bound probe into the reported sacrilegious publication of Guru Granth Sahib with “unpardon* able blunders” by an unknown published saying it “sees a sinister design behind it”.

Dal Khalsa chief HS Dhami has shot off a letter to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, seeking an investigation into the matter. He said it had hurt the sentiments of the community.

Invoking the Jagat Jot Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Act, 2008, adopted by the Punjab Assembly, according to which only the SGPC has the sole right to publish the scripture, Dhami has asked the Punjab government to act fast and find out “who has violated the Act, name of the publisher and motive of the person behind the move”.

“Apart from grave spelling mistakes, there were five pages left empty in the beginning and five in the end, which smacks of a sinister design,” said the letter to the CM. The ‘birs’ were found in SGPC-managed gurdwaras in Phagwara and Banga.

“The role of SGPC functionaries cannot be ruled out. The SGPC chief should come clean on the issue,” the letter said.


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