Call to safeguard Gurdwaras in Punjab

Date: 2ND July,2020

In the recent past, there has been a noticeable increase in the frequency of electrical fires at Gurdwara sahibs especially in Punjab which have led to Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji being desecrated. Each investigation has claimed the fire being started by short-circuiting of electrical wires while the lights or fans were not switched off as always recommended.

The World Sikh Parliament Religious Council is deeply concerned at the high frequency of such events which are completely avoidable if proper caution is taken by those on duty for day to day activities. We feel that either the electrical works need upgrades or it is a result of human carelessness which is unacceptable at a Gurdwara sahib. Another possibility is malicious intent. Without an investigation of each incident, it is hard to determine if all incident fit into a single category. We feel it could be any of the above reasons for these unfortunate incidents.
Just in the past two months, 4 incidents have come to light. On May 25th four Saroops were burnt in a Gurdwara in Rajasthan. On May 28th one Saroop was burnt in village Jassar in Amritsar. On 10th June, a naked man tried to desecrate Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji by jumping on the Palki in village Gorsian in Hoshiarpur. On June 17th one Saroop was burnt in village Vadala in Baba Bakala district.

The World Sikh Parliament Religious Council expresses great sorrow at such events taking place. With the lack of action taken by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee to address this on-going issue, the World Sikh Parliament Religious Council calls on the Khalsa living in villages and cities across.

As Sikhs, committed to the utmost respect for Guru Granth Sahib Ji, we must do everything in our power to stop these desecrations immediately without another incident. As a first step, we advise every concerned Sikhs to work with their Gurdwara committees and make sure the electrical work is inspected regularly by certified electricians and to replace any defective parts immediately. There should be no patchwork or unprotected wiring inside. Do not overload circuits. Install switches that can turn off all equipment inside as a safety measure, so nothing is left on by mistake. Install proper breakers so overloading can trip the breaker rather than causing sparks inside. Consult with electrical engineers who can help you design a system for the proper functioning of the electrical circuits and recommend safety measures. These measure will not only help stop unwanted fires but can save lives.

Secondly, assign responsibility to individuals as per their roles. A Gurdwara committee member should be given responsibility of regular electrical inspection, necessary upgrades, and equipment replacement as needed. The responsibility of turning of lights and all equipment should be assigned to someone who takes care of Gurdwara sahib. In case, the person is expected to be away, it should be his/her responsibility to assign the duties to someone trustworthy and in case of any mishap both should be held responsible.

Furthermore, the Khalsa should take action in accordance to Khalsa traditions against any individual, group or committee that has shown carelessness, irresponsibility or complicity that has led to the desecration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji’s Saroops.

Issued by Religious Council, World Sikh Parliament