Guru Granth Sahib can be sent abroad only by air: Akal Takhat

By courtesy of Sikhnet Africa

CHANDIGARH: From now on copies of the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, will be transported abroad only by air, and not by truck or sea route, says the Akal Takht. This marks a reversal of its 2009 decision.

There is no facility for printing copies of the holy book or 'birs' and these are exported to gurdwaras in the US, the UK and Europe. On April 24, a group of young Sikhs in Delhi had blocked a shipping container carrying 150 copies of the holy book from Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib to the Faridabad container depot, sparking a row.

Following the row over disrespect to Guru Granth Sahib during transportation abroad, these will be allowe to be sent only by air.

"The security process at the dry port was an insult to the Guru Granth Sahib, besides the containers would get contaminated. We have got a complaint on the Delhi incident. We have decided that only air route would be used for export," Akal Takht Jathedar (chief) Giani Gurbachan Singh told TOI.

Guru Granth Sahib is the central religious text of Sikhism, considered by Sikhs to be the final sovereign authority of the religion after the 10th Sikh master Guru Gobind Singh. At present, there are only two facilities of printing this text in India — Amritsar (run by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) and Delhi (managed by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee).

In 2010, SGPC had also planned to set up a printing facility in North Carolina in the US on a 2.5 acres land but the project never took off.

Over the last two weeks, agitated Sikh groups, including United Sikhs and Sehajdari Sikhs, had locked horns with the SGPC and DSGMC, saying the 2009 export order was against the 'maryada' (ethos) of Sikhism.

"The commuting mode is disrespectful to the holy book, which we consider as the supreme authority. The 'birs' take two to three months by sea to reach the ports of Canada or America, where again the procedures of immigration and security checks are performed," said Sehajdhari Sikhs chief Paramjeet Singh Ranu.

Guru Fateh,
Gurmukh Singh