The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which is responsible for the management of Sikh shrines in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Chandigarh, alleged on Friday that chief minister Bhagwant Singh Mann had entered into Takht Damdama Sahib in an inebriated condition. The organisation also sought an apology from the Punjab CM.
In a release issued in Amritsar, SGPC senior vice president of Raghujit Singh Virk said that the chief minister under the influence of alcohol visited a highly respected spiritual site of the Sikh community and “violated the Sikh rehat maryada (code of conduct)”. He asked Mann to admit his mistake and apologise to the entire Sikh community.
“The conduct of CM showed that he did not extend the due respect and honour to the Guru Ghar. In this way he lowered the prestige of constitutional office of CM, too,” the release added.
AAP is yet to react to the allegations.
Takht Sri Damdama Sahib in Punjab’s Bathinda district is a seat of temporal authority of Sikhism, and it is here that in 1705 Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, prepared the full version of the religion’s scriptures called Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Karnail Singh Panjoli, general secretary of the SGPC, said the CM undermined the basic rules to be followed while visiting Guru Ghar. He remarked that if Mann cannot stop drinking alcohol, then he should refrain from prostrating inside the Guru’s house.
The chief minister was among thousands of devotees who thronged the holy shrine on the occasion of Baisakhi on Thursday and paid obeisance.
“With the blessings of God and trust reposed by public in us, we will leave no stone unturned to meet people’s aspirations,” said Mann, who became the CM last month after AAP swept the Punjab elections, unseating the Congress.