Punjab Congress and ruling AkaliDal are embroiled in a bitter row over creation of a separate body for managing the affairs of Gurudwaras in Haryana, as former chief minister Amarinder Singh today accused SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal of not willing to "part with the huge resources" that the gurdwaras generate in Haryana.
Amarinder said that Haryana is a separate state like Delhi, Bihar and Maharashtra which have their own bodies for managing the Gurdwaras.
"When those states can have their own bodies to manage their gurdwaras why not Haryana?" he asked, adding,"or simply because Badal does not want to part with the huge resources the Gurdwaras generate there." The Haryana government is mulling setting up a separate Sikh Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC), possibly next month, to manage affairs of gurudwaras in the state.
A day after Badal attacked him for backing the Haryana government on the move, Amarinder slammed the Chief Minister for "trying to distort facts".
In a statement today, he said, "Badal is trying to distort facts as it is not Congress which wants a separate SGPC for Haryana, but the Sikhs of the state who have every right to manage the affairs of their religious places instead of being remote controlled by people like Badal." The
Congress leader said the reason and logic for a separate Haryana SGPC was similar as argued by him and his ilk during the Punjabi suba (state) movement.
"You wanted a separate state where Sikhs had a majority which ultimately led to the creation of Haryana, and now if the Sikhs there want autonomy for running their own Gurdwaras what is wrong in that?" he asked, saying that denying them this right was absolutely unjustified.
Lashing out at Amarinder, Badal said yesterday at Batala, "People, for their vested interests and to divide and weaken the Sikh community, were supporting the sinister move of the Haryana government to constitute a separate Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee."
Badal said the Congress leader was "not aware" of the supreme sacrifices made by Sikhs during the British rule for constitution of the Amritsar-based SGPC.
Contesting the claims made by some Haryana Congress leaders that more than two lakh affidavits had been received in support of separate SGPC for Haryana, Badal had said "even the Sikhs of Haryana were against this politically motivated move of the Congress government".
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has called a Sikh convention at Kaithal on July 6.
At present, Haryana government is studying the legal and religious provisions for setting up the separate body, the Chief Minister had said.
The SGPC, popularly known as a mini parliament of Sikhs,manages around 70 Gurdwaras in Haryana.
It also controls a majority of Gurdwaras in Punjab,including the holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandir Sahib (popularly known as Golden Temple) in Amritsar, as well as Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Leaders of the SGPC and Akali Dal had met union Home Minister Rajnath Singh last week to urge the Centre to stop the Haryana government from announcing a separate Gurdwara body.