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HSGPC goes to polls on Sunday

chandigarh Updated: Sep 22, 2012 18:32 IST
vishal Joshi
vishal Joshi
Hindustan Times
Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (HSGPC)

A faction of Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (HSGPC) will hold elections to form its ad hoc religious body in Kurukshetra on Sunday. Leaders elected by Sikh sangat at various Sikh-dominated areas of the state, including Karnal, Kurukshetra, Pehowa, Dabwali, Yamunanagar will gather at Yadav Dharamshala on Sunday to elect its state leadership.

The former SGPC member from Kurukshetra segment, Didar Singh Nalwi, told Hindustan Times on Saturday that a five-member gurdwara election commission headed by Sohinder Singh of Panipat would hold elections in Kurukshetra.

The former registrar of Punjabi University, Patiala, Nalwi said: "We want to have a dedicated team of Sikhs to achieve its constitutionally valid demands, including a separate SGPC, effective implementation of Punjabi as a second language and formation of a minority commission in Haryana to safeguard interests of minority communities."

He said they were preparing a list of Sikhs who support the movement for a separate body and make them join as members.

He said: "Certain elements in our community turned puppets in the hands of Haryana or Punjab government to disuse our movement, but we are determined to revive it by educating the sangat. We know it is a tough task for an independent body like us, but we will continue the process of making members for the cause of the community."

On December 26, 2000, Sikh leaders of Haryana had revolted against Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee to form an unelected and ad hoc HSGPC.

Jagdish Singh Jhinda was nominated as the president and Didar Singh Nalwi as the general secretary of the religious panel. The panel wanted the implementation of Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966 that says Haryana would have a separate SGPC to manage Sikh shrine after Haryana was carved out of Punjab.

The Amritsar-based SGPC controls Sikh shrines in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. In Haryana there are 72 gurdwaras, including seven historical shrines, and a section of Haryana Sikhs want a direct control through a separate management committee.

Haryana leaders claim that donations worth crores of rupees collected from Haryana are not used for proper upkeep of shrines, but used to appease Punjab chief minister Prakash Badal's Akali Dal party in Punjab.

Issue of an independent Sikh gained momentum and in 2004 SGPC polls, the HSGPC team bagged seven seats from 11 in Haryana.

The Haryana adhoc penal was duly given recognition as Bhupinder Singh Hooda government and SGPC held various talks with it. The movement fizzled out after Jhinda and Nalwi parted away.