Supporters of an independent panel to manage Sikh shrines of Haryana got shot in the arm on Friday when an elected member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) from Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Assandh, revolted against his party and demanded the formation of Haryana Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (HSGPC) to safeguard the interests of the Sikh sangat.
Assandh, the senior vice president of Shiromani Akali Dal, Haryana, was elected SGPC from Karnal in 2011. Earlier, he had won the SGPC polls from Kaithal in 1996.
At a press conference at Dera Kar Sewa gurdwara here, Assandh blamed SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar for playing in the hands of SAD president and Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and overlooking the interests of Haryana Sikhs.
He showed his full support to the HSGPC faction led by Didar Singh Nalwi and Jagdish Singh Jhinda and claimed several of other 10 SGPC members from Haryana were in his touch on freeing Haryana gurdwaras from the clutches of SGPC and Akalis of Punjab.
Assandh said that it was unfortunate that the religious money was spent in Punjab to suit the political interests of Akalis.
He said that late SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra never allowed any undue political interference but the present SGPC head Makkar was a puppet in the hands of Akali leadership.
“Sikh sangat questions me on why the community from Haryana is not given employment in the gurdwaras and that only Punjabis are appointed as managers, sewadars, inspectors and other works even in Haryana. As I am not given even patient hearing by the SGPC and Badals, I find it fit that only formation of HSGPC may resolve such issues,” he said.
“Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son and Makkar have cheated Sikhs of Haryana. They had promised several developmental projects, but are all ignored for unsaid reasons. I personally met Sukhbir Singh Badal recently thrice but he did not show any intention to implement the projects announced for Haryana,” he said.
Assandh said that the Badals and Makkar ignored the Sikh sangat of Haryana only to accommodate their cronies in various projects.
He said that before the recent Lok Sabha elections, the SAD leadership had assured to form a sub-committee from leaders of Haryana and Punjab to run gurdwaras of Haryana, but now they have refused to discuss the matter.
Also, aimed at empowering Haryana Sikhs, a sub-office of the SGPC was proposed at Kurukshetra but that too has been shelved.
“Makkar himself had laid the foundation stone of sub-office in October 2010, but its work had not been started. Similarly, an engineering college at Jind and a school at Dhamdhan Sahib are among the projects which have not moved beyond foundation stone laying ceremony,” he said.
Assandh said that the upcoming Miri Piri Medical College at Shahbad Markanda town of Kurukshetra was delayed by nearly a decade.
“I had requested the Akali leadership and Makkar to nominate few members from Haryana in the board of medical college management who could build a pressure on the state government to grant a no objection certificate for public welfare project. But the Badal family continue to control such projects which are being built purely by the donations collected from gurdwaras,” he alleged.