CHANDIGARH: A confrontation between Haryana and Punjab is on the cards, as the former readies to set up a separate Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday unveiled plans to introduce a Bill in the state Assembly on July 11 to facilitate the setting up of SGPC, while his Punjab counterpart, Parkash Singh Badal, described it as the third attack on the Sikh community after the Operation Blue Star and 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Addressing a Sikh mahasammelan in Kaithal, Hooda said it was the right of Sikhs in his state to have an independent SGPC. Before making the announcement, he asked the Sikhs at the mahasammelan whether they wanted a separate management for their gurdwaras in the state and sought their consent to set up one.
Hooda made it clear that there wouldn’t be any political interference in the affairs of the separate SGPC. “It will have an elected body on the lines of Punjab SGPC and it will be set up adhering to the legal process,” he assured.
He said that the government had already constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Finance Minister H S Chatha to set up a separate SGPC for Haryana. About 2 lakh Sikhs from the state have submitted their affidavits to set up a separate SGPC. The state government has sought legal opinion on the recommendations of Chatha Committee.
Referring to the speech by former president of Delhi SGPC Paramjit Singh Sarna, Hooda said he had respect for the sentiments of Sikhs.
Punjab Congress president Partap Bajwa was present at the mahasammelan.
Meanwhile, the Punjab CM said it was unfortunate that the Congress was meddling in the religious affairs of the Sikhs and alleged that the grand old party was following the footsteps of tyrannical Mughal rulers to weaken the Sikh community.
According to Badal, the Congress has inflicted a serious blow to the Sikh psyche, as true Sikhs didn’t want any separate committee for the management of gurdwaras.
The Punjab CM said the politically motivated step of Haryana Congress would not succeed, as the party would face a rout in the forthcoming state Assembly polls. “I firmly believe that the Congress will never succeed in its nefarious designs to divide the Sikh community,” he said.
Badal also flayed leaders such as Lok Sabha MP Captain Amarinder Singh and Bajwa for not protesting against the Haryana Government’s unsavoury move. “For the sake of narrow political gains, these leaders are acting like puppets in the hands of their party high command and working to polarise the Sikh community,” he said.