The Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhism, and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has squarely blamed Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his government for starting a fratricidal feud in the Sikh community that led to violence in Kurukshetra and Kaithal.
In separate statements issued here on Wednesday, the two institutions also accused Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGPC) chief Jagdish Singh Jhinda and his supporters of violating the Akal Takht directive to maintain status quo in gurdwaras managed by the SGPC and refrain from taking any step that could lead to mistrust and cause tension between the opposing gurdwara committees.
The statements condemned the takeover of the Guhla-Cheeka gurdwara in Kaithal district by HSGMC supporters and the violence outside Gurdwara Chhevin Patshahi in Kurukshetra.
Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh demanded that the Hooda government evict all those who had forced their entry into the shrine at Guhla-Cheeka after chasing out employees who were inside. The shrine management should be restored to those who were managing it, he demanded, without naming the SGPC.
He also demanded that the Haryana government take stringent steps to restore law and order and check the outbreak of further violence. He said action be taken as per law against those responsible for the violence in the two Haryana towns.
Referring to his directive to maintain status quo in the gurdwaras of Haryana and allow the SGPC to continue with the management of shrines till the matter is decided by the Akal Takht, the jathedar said it was rather unfortunate that "some people under instigation from the Congress had violated this order".
"Under Congress influence, you have attacked your own brethren. This fratricidal feud will not damage anyone else's reputation but of the Sikh community," he said.
He claimed that the clashes in Haryana had hurt the sentiments of the community worldwide. He said he could not find any words to condemn the attack "on Sikhs by Sikhs."
'Cong designs exposed'
SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar claimed that the happenings in Haryana had exposed the Congress designs to divide and weaken the Sikh community. He alleged that the Hooda government provided the support to its "stooges and puppets" to take control of the shrine at Guhla-Cheeka.
He claimed that Jhinda and his supporters manhandled SGPC employees inside the shrine at Guhla-Cheeka and then threw them out, while at Kurukshetra, they crossed police barricades with the aim of entering the gurdwara there.
"Jhinda and his supporters stand exposed before the 'quam'. On the one hand, they talk of an amicable solution, while on the other they indulge in violence against their own Sikh brethren," added Makkar.
He claimed that Jhinda and company were not interested in the management of gurdwaras but were more keen on taking control of the 'golak' (finances) of the shrines. He appealed to the Sikhs to come out in support of the SGPC against its fight against those who had defied the Akal Takht.
Point of no return: Dal Khalsa
Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said it was unfortunate that the two warring factions had chosen to ignore pleas from the community members not to resort to a physical showdown. Ironically, both sides have crossed the point of no return, he added.
He said that in the end, the Akal Takht jathedar and chief minister Parkash Singh Badal would be held responsible for bringing "a bad name to the community".