After high drama over the possession of a Sikh shrine, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) managed to regain control of the Gurdwara Chhati Pathshai, which had been taken over by a faction of Sikh leaders, officials said on Monday.
The gurdwara in Kurukshetra, around 110 km from state capital Chandigarh, was occupied by members of Haryana's ad-hoc committee of SGPC on Sunday.
Raghuveer Singh Virk, senior vice president of the SGPC, told IANS: "We have regained control of Gurdwara Chhati Pathshai. They had illegally entered the gurdwara premises and forcibly removed our men from there. By doing so, they violated the law and the norms of Sikh religion."
"It is sad that the police and local administration are working under the influence of the Haryana government. Despite our repeated appeals, police have not registered a case against the trespassers. We are planning to go on an indefinite protest outside the gurdwara till they register a case," Virk said.
In the wake of forthcoming assembly elections in Haryana, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had ignited the controversy afresh, few months back, by announcing the constitution of a separate SGPC for managing Sikh shrines in this state.
He had said that a separate SGPC would be established on Haryana Day, Nov 1, the day the state was carved out from Punjab in 1966.
Hooda also claimed that he had over 128,000 affidavits from Haryana Sikhs supporting this move.
The Amritsar-based SGPC manages Sikh shrines in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, including the holiest Sikh shrine -- the Golden Temple at Amritsar in Punjab.
However, faction leaders claimed they had taken over the shrine without using force and as per the law.
"We just wanted to show SGPC leaders our strength and to prove that we are capable of managing Haryana's shrines on our own. We are leaving the gurdwara because we have got assurances from senior leaders of the state about Haryana having its own SGPC in the coming months," a senior leader of Haryana's ad-hoc committee of SGPC told IANS.