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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Gurdwara committee row: Akal Takht calls Haryana Sikh leaders

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, July 01, 2014
First Published: 22:17 IST(1/7/2014) | Last Updated: 22:24 IST(1/7/2014)

In an apparent bid to scuttle the formation of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC), the Akal Takht has called a meeting of five prominent Sikh leaders of Haryana here on Wednesday.

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“The meeting had been called at the Akal Takht to discuss some important Sikh matters,” Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said here on Tuesday, while confirming that letters had been faxed individually to these leaders.

Those who have been called for the meeting are HSGPC (ad hoc) president Jagdish Singh Jhinda, Didar Singh Nalvi, Baba Gurmit Singh Tirlokwala, Apar Singh and Harmanjit Singh.

While Jinda and Nalvi are members of the 2004 general House of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Tirokwala had won as an Independent in the SGPC polls in September 2011. All five are members of the ad hoc HSGPC.

The 2011 general House of the SGPC could not be constituted due to the case pending in the Supreme Court, between the SGPC and the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation. The federation is demanding voting rights for Sehajdhari Sikhs in the SGPC elections and had challenged the legality of the 2011 polls. In such a scenario, members of the 2004 House continue to be recognised as ‘official’ members of the SGPC.

Giani Gurbachan Singh clarified before the media that Jinda, Nalvi and the others had not been summoned, but had just been asked to come to the Akal Takht for talks on important Sikh issues.

The indications that the meeting has specifically been called to persuade Jinda and the others to give up their claims for a separate gurdwara committee and to remain with the SGPC.

The meeting called by the jathedar follows the resolution adopted by the SGPC executive committee at its meeting in Chandigarh on.The jathedar refused to acknowledge that Wednesday’s discussions would be centred around the formation of a separate gurdwara committee for Sikhs of Haryana. However, there a Monday against the formation of the HSGPC by the Congress government in Haryana.

After Monday’s meeting, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar had claimed that the Akal Takht could summon former chief minister and Amritsar MP Capt Amarinder Singh and Haryana finance minister HS Chatha, besides Jhinda and Nalvi, for ‘meddling’ in Sikh religious affairs. However, the Takht may not oblige the SGPC chief as such summons, if issued, will not only dent the image of the jathedar and the Sikh high priests but also of the highest temporal seat of Sikhism.

The Sikh clergy has often been criticised of playing into the hands of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which controls the SGPC. Directing Amarinder to appear before the Takht may not go down well with the BJP, an ally of the SAD. The public can view it as an attempt by the SAD to ‘punish’ the former CM for having defeated BJP stalwart and now union minister Arun Jaitley from Amritsar in the Lok Sabha polls.
 

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