Akal Takht mulls ban on mobile phones inside Golden Temple

Wednesday 12th February 2020 05:40 EST

Amritsar: Giani Harpreet Singh, Jathedar of the Akal Takht, said that banning mobile phones inside the Golden Temple complex will have to be "thought over" if visitors continue to click selfies and shoot TikTok videos inside the holiest Sikh shrine. TikTok is a short-video platform that is extremely popular among youngsters globally, including India. It has about 200 million users in India.

"We want all devotees to visit the Golden Temple without any hassle and we are not in favour of imposing any such mobile ban but the way the incidents of TikTok are surfacing, I think imposing ban on carrying mobile phones inside Golden Temple will have to be pondered over in the future," the Jathedar said in Amritsar.

The Jathedar (head priest) also pointed out that some of the devotees even argue with 'sewadars' (workers) upon being stopped from clicking photos inside the premises. "It is a very serious problem," said the Jathedar advising devotees to refrain from doing such acts. Photography and videography in the precincts of the Golden Temple have already been banned by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to avoid any "disturbance" to the spiritual atmosphere.

Notice boards in the periphery of the Sikh shrine, prohibiting devotees to click photos and make videos, have also been installed. However, devotees continue to take selfies with the Golden Temple in the background.

The Jathedar's statement comes two days after a TikTok video shot inside the Golden Temple by three girls with a Punjabi song playing in the background went viral on social media. A police complaint was lodged to identify the girls. It was the second such incident in a short span of time as in January, a police complaint was lodged against a girl for hurting religious sentiments of Sikhs after she shot a dance video inside the Darbar Sahib complex. Later, the girl had to apologise.

Meanwhile, endorsing the views of the Akal Takht Jathedar, SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal said strict action was needed to stop people from making TikTok videos in the precincts of the Golden Temple. "We will have to take strict action if such incidents do not stop," said Longowal.

He said more SGPC workers would be deployed to prevent devotees from making videos inside the Golden Temple complex. "We will also discuss this issue in the upcoming meeting of the executive committee of the SGPC," said Longowal.

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