Haryana Sikh leaders Didar Singh Nalvi and Jagdish Singh Jhinda, who are demanding the setting up of a separate committee to manage gurdwaras of the state, skipped the scheduled meeting with the Akal Takht jathedar on Wednesday. Though five Sikh leaders from Haryana were sent invitations for 'Panthic vichar' (community discussion), it was largely acknowledged that the meeting with the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs in Amritsar was aimed at discussing the proposed formation of the Haryana Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC).
Nalvi and Jhinda held a closed-door meeting with their supporters at Dera Kar Sewa in Kurukshetra on Wednesday and urged the jathedar to fix a meeting after 10 days.
In the 2004 Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections, Nalvi and Jhinda had won from Kurukshetra and Karnal constituencies, respectively, on the issue of a separate gurdwara body for Haryana. Both failed to retain their seats in the 2011 SGPC polls.
After Wednesday's meeting, Nalvi told Hindustan Times that the state's Sikh leaders were busy preparing for Sunday's Kaithal convention, which would be chaired by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
"We have sent a communication to the Akal Takht jathedar, humbly requesting that the meeting be postponed by 10 days," Nalvi said.
He said the jathedar's letter did not any mention any agenda for the meeting, while urging the jathedar to list the key issues in future communication so that Haryana Sikh leaders could come prepared.
He stressed that the Sikh sangat was determined not to budge from its legitimate demand of a separate SGPC.
In a scathing attack on the Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the SGPC, Nalvi said the two bodies had never worked for the welfare of Sikhs of Haryana.
"Be it the issue of giving Punjabi the status of second official language or the formation of a minority commission in Haryana, the SAD or the SGPC never worked in this direction. Now, Badals' political agents are issuing veiled threats to create a law and order situation over a legitimate demand for a separate panel to manage Sikh shrines," he added.
Rejecting Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MP Dushyant Chautala's suggestion of a sub-committee under the Amritsar-based SGPC, Nalvi said the Akalis and their political allies were keen to deprive Haryana's Sikh sangat of its legal right for their vested interests.
He blamed the Akalis and the SGPC for wrongly linking the formation of the HSGPC with a division between Sikhs.
"Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his party (SAD) were responsible for the reorganisation of Punjab in 1966 and the creation of the states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. This paved the way for the formation of the HSGPC," Nalvi said.