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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

HSGMC row: Uneasy calm after pitched battle at Kurukshetra

Vijay Sabharwal, Hindustan Times  Kurukshetra, August 07, 2014
First Published: 22:41 IST(7/8/2014) | Last Updated: 07:57 IST(8/8/2014)

Uneasy calm prevails around historical Gurdwara Chhevin Patshahi (dedicated to Guru Hargobind) after the pitched battle of Wednesday between the police and the supporters of Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC).

On Thursday, the scene at the shrine near the Sannehit tank here was peaceful relatively, as the HSGMC supporters did not resume the dharna outside to demand possession from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). The HSGMC had announced it would make its headquarters at the gurdwara.

Its tents pitched a few days ago were gone in the baton charge on the 500 men who had tried to storm the gurdwara by scaling the police barricades. The members of the SGPC and its task force were ready for action at the entrance, while a few policemen relaxed under the shade of the trees nearby.

The police had removed the barriers and traffic on the Gulzari Lal Nanda Marg, main road of the city, was smooth. “We’ll meet at the Guhla-Cheeka (shrine that the HSGMC was able to wrest on Wednesday) in the afternoon to plan further struggle until we have possession of all the historical gurdwaras of Haryana,” HSGMC president Jagdish Singh Jhinda said here on Thursday.

Jhinda blames ‘Badal goons’

For the violence that erupted here a day before, he blamed the “goons that Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had sent to the Haryana gurdwaras in the garb of the SGPC task force”. “Nearly 50 of these Sikhs from inside the gurdwara infiltrated our 700 peaceful agitators and provoked the others for violence. Simultaneously, stone-pelting started from inside and the police force manning the barricades was caught in between. After some of their men were injured, the police resorted to baton charge,” said Jhinda.

He accused SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar and Akali leader Bibi Jagir Kaur of provoking people here against the HSGMC and building up for the violence. He charged Badal with disturbing peace in Haryana by dividing its Sikhs before the assembly elections. “By occupying the Haryana gurdwaras illegally, he is trying to divert the public attention from the fact that he has failed to govern Punjab well.”

Takht, Haryana govt asked to intervene

HSGMC general secretary Joga Singh made an appeal to the Akal Takht for directions to the SGPC and Badal to call their men back from the Haryana gurdwaras, since they were “scaring the sangat (devotees)”. He also appealed to the Haryana government to oust these men from the shrines so that the HSGMC, which was constituted legally, could take over peacefully. He said the struggle would remain peaceful.

‘No more talks’

In reply to a question, Jhinda said the secret dialogue process started at Yamunanagar a few days ago had collapsed because the SGPC had leaked out selective details. “At present, no talks are going on, as there is no use of it, since Badal has cheated us thrice now,” he added.

“During the last parliamentary elections, Badal assured us for the third time that there would be a separate managing committee for the Haryana gurdwaras. After getting Sikh votes, he ditched us, so we (the Haryana Sikhs) cannot trust him anymore,” said Jhinda.

Kurukshetra superintendent of police Ashwin Shenvi said the situation in the city was under control and cases of rioting and injuring on-duty public servants were lodged against unidentified people from the HSGMC in connection with the violence on Wednesday.

Huge gathering called tomorrow

HSGMC general secretary Joga Singh said the meeting of office-bearers at the Guhla-Cheeka gurdwara on Thursday was informal and in the wake of the status quo that the Supreme Court had ordered on Thursday. He said the HSGMC had started a Path (religious service) at Guhla-Cheeka after taking over that shrine on Wednesday. The Bhog ceremony, he said, would be on Saturday when another huge gathering was called.

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