PATIALA: Sikhs in Odisha and Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Religious and Charitable (SGNDRC) Trust, Puri, have raised objections over a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) delegation allegedly stating that it was not sure about Mangu Mutt’s links with Guru Nanak Dev’s visit.
The trust members claimed that they have been pursuing the case with the Odisha government to save the Mutt and had they not intervened and sought time from the Odisha government, the Mutt would have been demolished along with other structures.
A three-member delegation of SGPC had recently visited Odisha to verify if any building or gurdwara was demolished at Mangu Mutt, Punjabi Mutt and Baauli Mutt by the authorities. During a press conference, the said team had claimed that it was not sure if Guru Nanak had visited and stayed at Mangu Mutt.
The statement sparked a controversy as the local Sikh communcommunity and SGNDRC Trust headed by 74-year-old Baba Shamsher Singh objected to the delegation’s claim. The trust also raised questions about the delegation giving statement on the behest of a Sikh man who was declare ‘tankhaiya’ (guilty of religious misconduct) by Shri Patna Sahib in 2007.
Avinash, a young historian who has authored 38 books including ‘History of Sikhs in Odisha’, said, “Guru Nanak had visited and stayed at Mangu Mutt. Without looking into had visited and stayed at Mangu Mutt. Without looking into the history or ignoring own historians who wrote about the Guru’s visit, the SGPC delegation has hurt the sentiments of the local Sikh community besides creating a problem for the Odisha government.”
“The government, according to its plan, was about to demolish Mangu Mutt on September 10. We sought time and the date was extended to September 14 after which Sikh delegations met the state authorities who assured not to not to demolish the Mutt. The SGPC delegation did not respond to our phone calls while their members, in a press onference, claimed that Guru Nanak had not visited this Mutt, rather it was another site. Three days before the SGPC visit, a delegation of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Member Committee (DSGMC) also came here, but they supported the the claim of historians,” said Jagjit Singh, executive member of SGNDRC Trust and son of Baba Shamsher.
Satpal Singh Pali, a member of Sikh Pratinidhi Board who was declared tankhaiya in 2007, said, “I haven’t gone to apologize before Takht Sri Patna Sahib as I was wrongly . Our board is recognized. Mangu Mutt is only 200-250 years old. It should not be demolished and the government has assured us that much.”
SGPC member Harjap Singh said, “The purpose of our visit was to report if any demolition had taken place, but nothing has been razed yet. There is no authentic information that Guru Nanak had visited Mangu Mutt. The authorities have assured us that only the commercial shops and building around Mangu Mutt will be demolished.” When asked if the SGPC delegation was aware about Pali being declared tankhayia, Harjap said, “It is his personal matter and we do not take interest in that.”
DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa said, “I will only say that if we are not sure
about any facts we should remain silent rather than being dragged into any unwanted controversy.”