Bowing to the demand of Sikh leadership from the state, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda Sunday announced that a separate Sikh body would be set up to run the affairs of gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in Haryana.
The announcement, which was being speculated on for the past few days, was formally made by Hooda at a Sikh conference in Haryana's Kaithal town, 140 km from here, Sunday.
It was greeted by a thunderous applause by the gathering.
The move was strongly opposed by the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs, which currently controls gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, which dominates the SGPC, also opposed the Haryana move and had even sought the Centre's intervention in the matter.
The Haryana government is likely to bring a legislation in the forthcoming assembly session next week to enable the creation of a new Sikh body to manage gurdwaras and Sikh affairs in Haryana.
Once the new law is passed, nearly 72 gurdwaras in Haryana will go out of the control of the SGPC.