A day later the Haryana Vidhan Sabha passed the Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014, chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Saturday said it was the prerogative of the state to pass the bill and the Centre has got nothing to do with the same.
Hooda was the chief guest at the 33rd foundation day celebrations of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard).
The bill to become a law now requires a nod from the governor and the Haryana CM said it should be approved as demand of a separate body to take care of gurdwaras is the fundamental right of those in Haryana.
Reacting to question by HT as to why the bill was not passed by the state government when their own party, the Congress, was ruling at the Centre, for the same would have facilitated the decision, Hooda said, “The bill has been passed now, for we were approached by Sikhs of the state with a demand on the same. As far as the Centre is concerned, they have nothing to do with the bill.
Passing it (the bill) was the state’s prerogative and we have used the same to give fundamental right to the Sikhs. Sikhs in the state wanted to take care of their gurdwaras and we, as the government, have just given them their right.”
Hooda when asked about the timing of passing the bill by HT, said, “Der aaye durust aaye (better late than never)”. He said the timing had nothing to do with passing of the bill and there should be no controversy over it.
The state now has Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) to take care of all gurdwaras in Haryana.
The chief minister responded in the negative when asked that will the move affect the state’s relations with Punjab, as passing of the bill means snatching away control from Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Amritsar.
“We have cordial relations with Punjab and this bill has nothing to do with the same. We have to understand that this decision was taken for the people and such decisions have no impact on the relations between two states.”
Meanwhile, cabinet minister Harmohinder Singh Chattha came to rescue of the chief minister and said there are many other states, and even Delhi, which have a separate Sikh body to take care of gurdwaras, so why can’t Haryana have one?
The Congress had promised a separate Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee in its 2005 and 2009 poll manifestos. A panel had been set up in 2005 under cabinet minister Harmohinder Singh Chattha to look into the demand of a separate body.