Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson and Supreme Court lawyer HS Phoolka has termed the directions given by the union home secretary to the Haryana chief secretary on the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) as "totally unconstitutional" and an attempt by the Modi government to confuse the entire issue under pressure from chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Commenting on the union home secretary's directions asking Haryana to undo the separate gurdwara body by getting the assent to the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Bill withdrawn, Phoolka in a statement issued on Saturday pointed out that when the assembly had passed an act, neither the government nor the governor had any authority to withdraw the legislation or declare it repealed; it is only the legislature which could amend or repeal an act.
"Badals after the Lok Sabha drubbing are desperately trying to find an issue and divert the attention of the people of Punjab from the dismal failure of their government on all fronts. The creation of a separate HSGMC is also an outcome of the total mismanagement, blatant highhandedness and dictatorial attitude of the Badals and their attempts to absolutely control the Sikh community," he said.
Phoolka claimed that the Badal family wanted to control the Sikh religious affairs as they thought Sikhs were their captive vote bank. To achieve their nefarious designs, they were now attempting to create a volatile situation in the gurdwaras of Haryana, he added, while advising the Sikh intelligentsia to come forward and do their best to avoid the impending violent confrontation in the shrines.
He requested the leaders of the HSGPC (ad hoc) not to fall into the trap laid by the Badals and to maintain peace at all costs. The leaders of the HSGPC should not try to take forcible possession of the Haryana gurdwaras and in no case police should be involved in this affair in any manner, he said, while advising the Sikhs of Haryana to wait for the final outcome of the legal battle that was likely to begin on this issue as the union government had questioned the legality of the Haryana government in passing the gurdwara bill and seeking the assent of the governor.
Phoolka was of the view that till the matter was decided, the 11 elected members of the SGPC from Haryana should be allowed to manage the affairs of the shrines in their state.
"As Sikhs are a peaceful community, any kind of violence should be avoided at all costs because that will malign the name of the community the world over," he said.