Senior Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member Hardeep Singh on Monday criticised the participation of the committee and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patron, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in the historic Kumbh Mela, saying it was against the Sikh tenets.
"The SGPC is participating in the Kumbh Mela not to promote Sikhism but to prove that Sikhs are part of the Hindus. This participation cannot be seen as a representation of the Sikh community, but only of a political group influenced by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS)," said Hardeep, a former SAD member who was elected as independent candidate for his third SGPC term from Mohali.
As he addressed a press conference here, Hardeep stressed, "I have nothing against any community or its rituals, but the Sikh leadership at the religious as well as political level should keep away from practices that are against our ethos."
He further said that various Sikh intellectuals and organisations had registered their opposition to the move. "Even members from within the SAD opposed this decision, but they were snubbed." He said the SGPC "might exhibit certain distorted literature" at its Kumbh exhibition.
But SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, when contacted, said the committee would only be holding an exhibition and won't participate in any ritual. He stressed that the SGPC was "clear in its stand that the Sikhs are a separate community with their own religious entity".
"The SGPC is still seeking an amendment to Article 25 of the Constitution that does not describe the community as an entity separate from the Hindus," Makkar added.