AMRITSAR SAHIB, Punjab—Refuting the allegations of begging votes from rapist Sirsa cult chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim are proving counterproductive for the newly elected SGPC President Gobind Singh Longowal. Now, Longowal is entangled in his own statements as some of his controversial photos of visiting non-Sikh shrines for begging votes have also gone viral over social media.
It may be recalled here that Gobind Singh Longowal was held guilty for begging votes from Sirsa cult during the last state assembly polls. A three member Investigation committee comprising of former SGPC Senior Vice President Baldev Singh Qaimpur, General Secretary Amarjit Singh Chawla and executive member Gurcharan Singh Grewal had held Longowal guilty of begging votes from Sirsa cult after thoroughly probing the matter.
Conversation with Gobind Singh Longowal is being presented here for Sikh24’s audience.
Question: How are you feeling after getting elected as a President of the apex Sikh body? You have never made any claims to presidency before.
Answer: It is true that I never made any claim for the Presidency of SGPC but if now the Almighty Lord has put responsibility of serving as a President of this apex body on my shoulders, I will also do my best.
Question: Your election as SGPC President has been opposed by Sikhs as you were accused of begging votes from rapist Sirsa cult chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim. What would you say about it?
Answer: See, I didn’t ever go for begging votes from Sirsa cult. I don’t know why my name got aired in this controversy despite of the fact that I didn’t ever beg votes from him.
Question: Then, why were you held guilty by the Takht Jathedars?
Answer: I don’t know how it happened but I would like to make it clear that I had even submitted a written clarification before the Takht Jathedars at that time. Being a devoted Sikh, I had completed the punishment addressed to me by the Takht Jathedars.
Question: You have been given reins of SGPC at such a time when it is facing sharp wrath of Sikh masses over several controversial issues. How would you deal with these challenges?
Answer: Sorting out controversies over Sikh issues is not a matter of a day or two. Definitely, it requires some time and an honest approach by all the factions. But I will do my best to bring the entire Sikh community on a common platform by giving an end to controversies.
Question: It is widespread belief in the entire Sikh community that the RSS is indirectly having full control over the SGPC due to SAD’s alliance with saffron BJP. What is your opinion about it?
Answer: A lot of stories have been cooked by some miscreants about SGPC during the past few years but it’s up to our intelligence how much we trust on such cooked stories. If RSS is controlling SGPC then why the SGPC appointed Takht Jathedars boycotted Gurpurab celebrations by RSS in Delhi in October this year.
As far as SAD’s alliance with BJP is concerned, I can’t say anything about it as I am not even a core committee member of Shiromani Akali Dal.
I have been given the responsibility of governing Sikh shrines & intensifying religious preachment in Punjab and that I will do with full honesty.
Question: Lost glory of SGPC appointed Takht Jathedars has caused emergence of Parallel Takht Jathedars which ultimately led to division among Sikh community. How would you deal with it?
Answer: I will humbly approach every Sikh sect including the Sarbat Khalsa appointed Takht Jathedars and will appeal them to get united for the sake of welfare of Sikh community.
However, it has now come to fore that of the 39 leaders found guilty of begging votes from Sirsa cult, only Manpreet Singh Ayali had submitted clarification before Takht Jathedars and he was only directed to offer Karah Prasad by the Takht Jathedars. Via Sikh 24