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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Jhinda, Nalwi ready take fight for independent Sikh panels to other states

Vishal Joshi, Hindustan Times  Karnal, July 14, 2014
First Published: 23:45 IST(14/7/2014) | Last Updated: 23:47 IST(14/7/2014)

Elated over the governor's assent to the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (HSGPC) on Monday, the state Sikh leadership has vowed to take the battle of "liberating" gurdwaras to other states.

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Sikh leaders Jagdish Singh Jhinda and Didar Singh Nalwi told Hindustan Times on Monday that religious leaders from Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and other states had asked for their support in leading movement for independent Sikh panels.

Nalwi said constituting HSGPC was a bold step taken by the Congress leadership as the powerful Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), the ruling party in Punjab, was controlling the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Nalwi and Jhinda said they would soon visit other states and meet respective governments with an appeal to follow the formula of Haryana to give Sikhs the right to democratically elect bodies to manage gurdwaras.

The leaders hope that soon the 'sewa' of all Haryana shrines would be handed over peacefully to the HSGPC (ad hoc) to be decided by the state government.

"After the governor's approval, the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Bill becomes an Act and I urge the Akalis and the SGPC to accept it humbly. Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal should respect the legitimate decision of a federal government and help in building progressive mood in Haryana," said Nalwi.

Jhinda said after getting the governor's approval, the SGPC loses all legal and moral right over the management of Haryana shrines.

"I have full faith that handing over gurdwara management would be made respectfully. I assure that Sikh sangat of Haryana will not agitate and it will be the duty of the Haryana government to vacate the shrines from the illegal management of the SGPC," said Jhinda.

Both leaders said the new body would ensure development of shrines and initiating welfare projects from the donations collected at various gurdwaras.

Leaders differ on joining mainstream politics

While Nalwi said he was not interested in contesting the forthcoming assembly polls on the Congress ticket, Jhinda was hesitant to make any direct comment on it.

"I fought for HSGPC since 2000 and feel satisfied with formation of an independent panel. I have no mood to contest elections," Nalwi said, adding his Haryana Jan Shakti Party had allied with the Bharatiya Janata Party in March this year, which did not last long. He also clarified that he did not join the BJP.

However, Jhinda said he had not made his mind on the issue. Jhinda belongs to Assandh assembly constituency of Karnal, which has a sizeable number of Sikh voters.

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