Deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday accused Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal of dragging the Akal Takht into the controversy over the setting up of a separate gurdwara management body for Haryana.
In a statement here, Amarinder said Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar’s statement suggesting that the Akal Takht could summon many Congress leaders for supporting the Haryana SGPC reinforced the public belief about Badal’s interference into the working of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal institution of the Sikhs, through his ‘yes-men’ such as Makkar.
The Congress MP from Amritsar clarified that the demand for a separate SGPC was a political issue and it in no way amounted to meddling with Sikh religious affairs.
“It is wrong to drag the Akal Takht into the whole issue,” he remarked, adding that the way Badal and Makkar were behaving showed that they were trying to misuse the highest temporal authority for their personal interests.
Amarinder reminded Badal that he (Badal) was part of the Akali Dal movement led by Sant Fateh Singh, which in 1971 launched a morcha (protest sit-in) that led to the creation of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, as demanded by the Sikhs of Delhi. Badal and other Akali leaders had then courted arrest, he added.
“If there is nothing wrong in demanding a separate body for Delhi, then what is wrong in the demand for a separate body for Haryana,” Amarinder asked.
He said there were separate committees for managing gurdwara affairs of Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib. “Why deny the same rights to Haryana Sikhs?” he asked.
Amarinder also advised Makkar to exercise restraint on the demand for a separate SGPC in Haryana.