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HSGPC row: Akali Dal calls for mega Sikh conference July 27

IANS  Chandigarh, July 19, 2014
First Published: 19:40 IST(19/7/2014) | Last Updated: 19:41 IST(19/7/2014)

Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal on Saturday announced it would hold a mega panthic conference (Vishal Panthic Ikath) of Sikhs from all over the world July 27 at Amritsar's Golden Temple complex against the Haryana government's move to set up a separate panel to manage gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in the state.

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The decision was taken at five-hour long meeting of the Akali Dal core committee held at the residence of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal here.

"The conference will chalk out the programme to fight the assault on Sikh religion, religious institutions and the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925, by the Congress government in Haryana headed by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda at the behest of Congress president Sonia Gandhi," Akali Dal general secretary Harcharan Singh Bains said here.

The Haryana assembly had Friday passed the Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014, under which the Haryana Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC) would be set up to manage gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in Haryana. The bill got the assent of the Haryana governor Monday.

The Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs, which controls gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, will lose control over 72 gurdwaras in Haryana with the new law in Haryana.

The SGPC, which has a Rs. 950-crore annual budget, controls majority of the gurdwaras in Punjab, including the holiest of all Sikh shrines 'Harmandar Sahib' (popularly known as Golden Temple) in Amritsar.

Badal had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union home minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi to seek the central government's intervention against the Haryana government's move.

"The core committee resolved that an attack on Sikh religion and its sacred institutions will never be tolerated. The party expressed satisfaction over the action taken by the Government of India so far.

"The core committee also asked the union government to follow up its action of declaring the Haryana Act as unconstitutional with appropriate follow up steps to make it null and void, as it was a clear breach of the Constitution of India," Bains said, quoting the core committee resolution.

The Akali Dal has also called a meeting of all its leader SGPC members and others from all over the country to be held here July 22.

"The Khalsa Panth will never tolerate interference in its religious affairs. Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is on a disastrous course of confrontation with the Khalsa Panth. He thinks he can repeat the blunder of the British government and hand over the management of sacred shrines to his favourite Mahants and Masands," Bains said.

He said that the core committee warned Hooda against persisting with interference in Sikh religious affairs.

"The core committee expressed shock that the Haryana government had declared Sikh gurdwaras as government property under the Companies Act. The sacred offerings of the Sikh devotees before Sri Guru Granth Sahib will now become government's revenue," Bains said.

The core committee resolved to take the fight over the issue to any level.

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