Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday described the Haryana government's action of getting a law enacted to set up a separate body for managing the affairs of Gurdwaras in that state as "provocative and a brazen interference in the religious affairs of the Sikh community".
Punjab chief minister, in a statement here, said, "This action was not only blatantly unconstitutional but was motivated by a desire to fulfill the long standing design of Congress to dilute and weaken the spiritual, social and political strength of the community by seeking to encourage divisions."
Badal appealed to the Centre to intervene in the matter, saying the Haryana government's action has not only created a "constitutional crisis by openly encroaching upon the jurisdiction of the Parliament but will also hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs all over the world."
He said that he simply could not understand the "desperation" of Bhupinder Singh Hooda to tread upon the Sikh religious territory while his mandate as the chief minister is to function as a secular head of government.
Badal also said the neighbouring state government should have shown sensitivity towards the potential threat which its action poses to the hard earned atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in the region.
"He (Hooda) has even defied the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the Sikh masses in Haryana as expressed in the last elections to the General house of the SGPC, Badal said.
"The last SGPC poll was a referendum among the Sikhs on the advisability of setting up a separate body for management of Sikh shrines in that state.
"The Sikhs voted overwhelmingly against those who supported the Congress-sponsored move in this direction, giving thumping victory on all eleven seats to the candidates of the SAD who had opposed this move," he said.
The chief minister said the Haryana Government had also treated the constitution with utter disrespect by piloting a bill which clearly violates constitutional provisions in this regard.
"The issue falls in the ambit of the Punjab Re- organisation Act 1966 which declares several institutions including the SGPC as inter-state corporate bodies, mandating that only the Government of India and the Parliament were competent to take decisions or legislate on matters concerning these bodies," he said.
He pointed out that all decisions regarding the SGPC fall within the jurisdiction of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
"Be it the conduct and notification of elections, their results, electoral rolls, reservation for women or any other issue requiring statutory decisions, the mandate lies with the Government of India alone. Not to speak of Haryana, even the Punjab government or Punjab Assembly cannot interfere with the working, composition or with the running of this constitutionally created body. I am shocked that all these facts, which are well known to everyone familiar with administration or with Sikh affairs, have been given a rude farewell by the Haryana government," he said.