The RSS’ attempt to put at rest earlier controversies by redefining its stand on the Sikh faith, saying that it is a separate religion but part of the larger Hindu samaj, has only complicated matters further with the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) adopting a hard stance and objecting to this view.
“We regard the Sikh religion as a separate religion, but we regard the Sikh people as belonging to our samaj.When we say that they are a part of the one great Hindu samaj, we do not deny the existence of their separate religion and separate beliefs.The Hindu samaj is a commonwealth of many religions,” it was stated on the RSS official website while clarifying their stand on minorities.
It stated that the RSS held the belief that the Hindu Code Bill is applicable to Sikhs , Jains and Buddhista alike and it should be applicable to others like Christians and Muslims too.
Reacting sharply to the RSS statement, SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar asserted that the Sikhs have their own separate identity and are not a part of the Hindu samaj.
Speaking to HT, he questioned the RSS authority for raising such controversies time and again. “How can the RSS claim that Sikhs are part of the Hindu samaj.We believe only in Guru Granth Sahib and are ordered by the highest Sikh temporal seat,” he said while advising the Sangh not to expand their domain unnecessarily.
On the issue of applicability of the Hindu Code Bill to all minorities as well,the veteran Sikh leader pointed out that they had been opposed to the idea for long.
“The Sikhs should not be covered under the Hindu Marriage Act.The government should implement the Anand Marriage Act while accepting Sikhs as a separate community,” he said.
In what may not be to the liking ot the Akalis, allies of the BJP, the Sangh has also expressed the view that it sees a “problem” of minorities assume a political character.
“The majority-minority distinctions must be restricted to the bases on which the minority character is sought to be claimed ... The problem arises when a particular minority transgresses the basis of its minority character and assumes a political one,”it said.
A heated controversy had broken out on the RSS view of the Sikh identity some years ago when the Sangh leaders had described Sikhism as a part of the Hindu religion saying that they did not consider it as a separate entity.On strong protests from Sikh religious leaders, the RSS had then sought to tone down their stand.