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Banished, radio jockey in NZ dares Akal Takht Jathedar to open debate

June 15, 2018 05:34 AM

COURSTEY THE TRIBUNE JUNE 15

Banished, radio jockey in NZ dares Akal Takht Jathedar to open debate
GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 14

Akal Takht on Thursday excommunicated New Zealand-based Harnek Singh Neki for “derogatory” remarks on Sikh Gurus and for distorting Gurbani while hosting a radio talk show.
The “hukamnama (edict)” by the five Sikh high priests was pronounced by Giani Gurbachan Singh. The Jathedar directed the Sikhs to initiate legal proceedings to scrap Neki’s project — Radio Virsa — for running a relentless “propaganda” against the Gurus.
Speaking to The Tribune on the phone 12,000 km away, an unruffled Neki invited the Akal Takht chief to his show for an open discussion on the origin of Sikhism and its principles. “I do not acknowledge the authority of the Akal Takht Jathedar or the SGPC. Both have lost their credibility. I never saw myself as part of the community governed by them. I challenge the Akal Takht Jathedar or any SGPC representative to a debate on my show on Sikh ethics and principles. Let the listeners decide for themselves.”
Mocking the clergy, he said the ‘Taksali’ Sant Samaj and SGPC representatives had approached the New Zealand High Commissioner in New Delhi to demand that his radio ‘licence’ be cancelled, “little knowing that in New Zealand, it is not required to run a small radio channel as Radio Virsa which I run in collaboration with a group of Sikhs settled there.”
Jathedar Gurbachan Singh stressed that Neki was given three chances to appear before Akal Takht but he did not respond. “He has been ‘distorting’ Gurbani and using objectionable language for the Sikh Gurus on his radio shows. The Sikh community must sever social, political and religious ties with him.”
Neki was first summoned by the Akal Takht on May 16 and asked to respond to the allegations in writing within 10 days. Thereafter, he was called on June 1 and for the third time within the next one week.
Parallel ‘Jathedar’ Dhyan Singh Mand too had excommunicated Neki on May 30 on the same charges

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