Tara Singh Malhotra - Emergence As The Sole Spokesman of The Sikhs

Emergence As The Sole Spokesman of The Sikhs

The Sikh Gurdwara bill met most of the demands of the Sikhs, but the government was willing to release the prisoners conditionally i.e. on the understanding to be given by the Akalis that they would agree to work for the Gurdwara Act. The Shiromani Akali Dal and the executive declared conditions imposed for the release of prisoners as wholly unnecessary, unjust and derogatory. Among the prominent Akalis, Mehtab Singh and Giani Sher Singh along with twenty other Akali leaders accepted the conditional release. Master Tara Singh, Baba Kharak Singh and Teja Singh Samundari Jathedar Teja Singh Akerpuri (Jathedar Akal Tkht Sahib) and Fifteen other Akalis did not come out as government emphasis on eliciting written assurance and acceptance was to Master Tara Singh, an attack on the self-respect of the Sikhs. He said,

"We ourselves have enacted this Act and we are responsible for implementing it, then why this condition?"

Teja Singh Samundari died of heart attack in the jail after some time. The Punjab Government failed to prove the charges against Master Tara Singh and the remaining Akalis, few months later they all were released unconditionally. The courage and sacrifice shown by the Akalis during the trial very soon drove the Mehtab Singh's group out of the political field and led to a rift in the Akali ranks, as the newly released Akalis condemned Mehtab Singh's group as collaborators. Mehtab Singh's group was also known as Rai Bahadur Party. This group had majority in the committee and Mehtab Singh was elected its president. The Akali Party launched a campaign against the conditionally released leaders. When the new elections for the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee were held, the Akali Party won majority and the newly elected Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee elected Kharak Singh as the President and Master Tara Singh as the Vice President. Since Baba Kharak Singh had not yet been released the responsibility of the president fell on the shoulders of Master Tara Singh. He became indispensable in the cause of the struggle for the Sikh panth and emerged as the sole spokesman of the community.

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