A day after Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced that a separate SGPC will be set up for his state, a group of Sikhs led by Amritsar-based SGPC today held a protest here against the decision, calling it an interference in the religious matters of the community.
The protesters demanded that the Haryana government withdraw the announcement made by the Chief Minister in Kaithal yesterday that a law will be enacted to form the separate panel.
"The Congress government should stop interfering in the religious affairs of the Sikhs," President of the Amritsar- based SGPC, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, Avtar Singh Makkar told reporters.
At present, the gurdwaras in Haryana are under the control of the Amritsar-based body.
Makkar alleged that the move was Congress' "nefarious design to weaken the community."
He also said that "it is a step to weaken the SGPC".
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress President Partap Singh Bajwa, who attended the function in Kaithal yesterday, said there is nothing illegal about the move of the Haryana government to enact a legislation for the creation of a separate gurdwara management panel for that state.
In a statement issued in Chandigarh, Bajwa said this will facilitate the emergence of the Sikhs as a powerful religio-political group and they will now be in a position to bargain in the political permutation and combination of Haryana as had been the case in Delhi after the formation of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.
Attacking Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal, who have opposed the move, Bajwa said, "It was this emergence of the Sikhs as a powerful group which would weaken the bargaining power of the Badal family and hence this vociferous opposition by them." He said by taking the decision, Congress in Haryana has only accepted the long-pending demand of the Sikhs in the state and this could in no way be construed as a move to divide the community as already the Delhi gurdwaras were managed by the Delhi Sikhs and Takhts at Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib by their respective boards.