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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Akal Takht orders status quo on gurdwaras of Haryana

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, July 28, 2014
First Published: 08:40 IST(28/7/2014) | Last Updated: 10:04 IST(28/7/2014)

The Akal Takht has once again stepped in to thwart the attempts of the members of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC – ad hoc) to take over the management of the historic gurdwaras in their state, which are under the Amritsar based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

After having failed in its earlier attempts to subdue the Haryana Sikh leaders, the Akal Takht on Sunday issued a directive that states that the “existing system of management of shrines (in Haryana) should be allowed to continue till the issue is resolved”.

This clearly implies that no attempt should be made to divest the SGPC of the management of the 52-odd shrines, including the eight historic gurdwaras that fall in Haryana. Despite the formation of the HSGMC, the Sikh shrines in Haryana continue to be administered by the SGPC.

Issued on the letter head of the Akal Takht and signed by jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, there was no mention of the HSGMC by name in the directive. The jathedar, despite being aware that other than the HSGMC, there is no other organisation that is trying to oust the SGPC from Haryana, still chose not to name the group in the directive.

The directive also debarred all (Sikhs) from issuing inflammatory statements (on the HSGMC issue) that could “vitiate the atmosphere”. Here again, the issue concerned was not mentioned in the directive.

The jathedar, however, praised “both the sides” for adhering to his Saturday’s directive and calling off their respective Panthic conventions. Again, he did not make a mention of the two sides, though it was amply clear that he meant the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and HSGMC.

The SAD was to hold its convention at Manji Sahib Hall in the Golden Temple complex on Sunday while the HSGMC was to do so at Kar nal on Monday.

The jathedar had directed both the sides to call off their respective conventions so as to ease tension in the Sikh ‘panth’ and for finding an amicable solution to the Haryana gurdwara committee problem.

The jathedar after issuing the directive left for Saharanpur, which witnessed communal violence between two minority communities on Saturday. The media was not informed of the directive and only came to know through email.

It was obvious that the jathedar did not wish to confront the media as a couple of Panthic leaders had questioned his wisdom in issuing a directive to the HSGMC, whose two leaders Didar Singh Nalwi and Jagdish Singh Jhinda were excommunicated by the Akal Takht for their role in the formation of a separate gurdwara committee.

Jhinda was elected the president of the HSGMC’s executive while Nalwi was elected senior vice-president at the meeting of the 41-member committee of the gurdwara body held at Karnal on Saturday.

DAL KHALSA QUESTIONS DIRECTIVE

Reacting to the fresh development, the Dal Khalsa has once again questioned Giani Gurbachan Singh’s wisdom in issuing such a directive.

“The jathedar may not have named the HSGMC or its leaders but it is quite clear that the directive is meant for the Haryana Sikh leaders. How can he issue such a directive when he himself excommunicated Jhinda and Nalwi, both of who now head the new gurdwara body?” Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh said.

He asked the jathedar to first withdraw the unprincipled edict excommunicating the two HSGMC leaders along with Haryana cabinet minister Harmohinder Singh Chattha. Then only is he entitled to issue directions to them, he added.

Kanwarpal along with former SGPC secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta had questioned the directive issued by the jathedar on Saturday on similar grounds.

Alleging that his latest order smacks of partisan, he urged the jathedar to play the role of the elderly person of the community to find a solution to the crisis and not act in a biased manner. He claimed that the Badals had made the jathedar their subservient.

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