Radical Sikh preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal met Uttarakhand’s Congress chief minister Harish Rawat for reconstruction of a historical gurdwara in Haridwar that was demolished in the 1984 riots on Saturday, and reportedly got an assurance for it too.
Gurdwara Gyan Godri Sahib at Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar marks the first Sikh master, Guru Guru Nanak Dev’s visit to the holy town in the first decade of the 16th century.
Even as the Congress has always remained under fire for the 1984 riots in the aftermath of the then PM Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Daduwal claims to have “convinced” the Uttarakhand government to reconstruct the shrine. The issue was contentious as local traders have constructed shop on the now-encroached gurdwara land.
Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa was also present during the Haridwar meeting. However, it was not confirmed if Bajwa had accompanied Daduwal or was there for some other purpose.
Daduwal said, “We recently met Harish Rawat for the reconstruction of Gurdwara Gyan Godri Sahib, demolished in the 1984 riots. I have been raising this issue for five years. Finally the state government is ready for the reconstruction.”
On the presence of Bajwa during the meeting, Daduwal said, “We welcome whosoever is coming forward for the reconstruction of the gurdwara. There is a Congress government in Uttarakhand, so Bajwa can help us.” Congress formed the government in the hill state in 2012.
“Earlier there was a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttarakhand and we wanted the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and ‘Panth Rattan’ Punjab chief minister Parkash singh Badal to raise the issue with their ally. Badal was in very good position to resolve the matter, but did not help,” said Daduwal. “Soon, demarcation of land will take place.” Bajwa could not be contacted for comment.
Daduwal was made a member of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee formed by the then Congress government of the state.