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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Akal Takht panel fails to convince Haryana leaders to drop demand

Vishal Joshi, Hindustan Times  Kurukshetra, July 04, 2014
First Published: 10:57 IST(4/7/2014) | Last Updated: 11:42 IST(4/7/2014)

A 10-member delegation sent by the Akal Takht jathedar on Thursday failed to convince the Haryana Sikh leaders to drop their demand for setting up the Haryana Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC).

HSGPC leaders rejected a proposal tabled by the Akal Takht delegation to form a sub-committee to manage the gurdwaras of Haryana.

The meeting was held secretly at the private residence of an Akali leader in Sector 2 here this afternoon.

Under the leadership of SGPC general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, the “panthic vichar” meeting was scheduled to be held at the historic Gurdwara Chhevein Patshahi here at 11 am, but the Akal Takht delegation left the shrine in the afternoon claiming that the Haryana leaders did not turn up for the meeting.

As the Haryana Sikh leaders, including Jagdish Singh Jhinda and Didar Singh Nalwi, told the media on Thursday that they didn’t receive any invite for the meeting and learnt about it through the media, the Akal Takht panel had to change its strategy by inviting them to have a dialogue at a private place.

After the meeting, HSGPC leader Jhinda told Hindustan Times that the visiting religious delegation offered to form an autonomous sub-committee.

“We humbly informed the delegation that the Sikh sangat demands an independent body as the sub-committee will not cater to the satisfaction of the Sikhs of Haryana. The delegation said that the sentiment of the Haryana Sikh leaders would be tabled before the Akal Takhat jathedar,” said Jhinda, a former elected SGPC member and ad-hoc president of the HSGPC.

Jhinda clarified that the HSGPC leadership had highest regards for the Akal Takht and its jathedar but none of his team members could attend this morning meeting as there was no official invite to them.

“As all of us were contacted in the afternoon by the delegates, we readily accepted the offer and reached at the venue suggested by the visiting delegation,” said Jhinda.

He confirmed that the HSGPC supporters would attend the Sikh convention scheduled to be held at Kaithal on July 6 where chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is expected to announce the constitution of a separate Sikh panel for the state.

After the meeting at Sector 2 house, Bhaur said that the delegation would submit its report to the Akal Takht and the visiting panel had nothing to comment on the issue.

Earlier in the day, Bhaur lamented that the Congress government of Haryana was attempting to divide the Sikh community by giving hints at forming a separate gurdwara panel.

Nalwi, a former elected of the SGPC from Kurukshetra, charged the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and the SGPC with defaming them by giving a false impression that HSGPC supporters were ignoring the Akal Takht.

Nalwi alleged that the SGPC worked in a non-transparent manner and asked its president Avtar Singh Makkar to make details of salaries, house rent or expenditure, vehicles and fuel consumption used by Makkar and other office-bearers from the SGPC funds.

“Though SGPC is known as the mini-parliament of Sikhs but unfortunately, the Akali leadership prefer illiterate or sycophant elites as its members and office-bearers. As a member of the SGPC I had seen that no one is allowed to raise questions about the SGPC budget,” said Nalwi.

He also charged the SGPC with routing hundreds of acres of gurdwara land in Haryana towards trusts controlled by Akali leaders of Punjab.

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