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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Nanded Takht Board row: Badal writes to PM

PTI   Chandigarh, August 26, 2014
First Published: 15:23 IST(26/8/2014) | Last Updated: 16:12 IST(26/8/2014)

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "restrain" Maharashtra government from going ahead with its "arbitrary" decision to reduce SGPC's representation in the Takht Sri Hazur Sahib Board at Nanded.

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The Maharashtra cabinet recently approved the report of the Bhatia committee that recommended reducing the representation of Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) from the existing four to one.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, copy of which was circulated to media here, he said that this was not an ordinary administrative decision as it concerned the sentiments and religious traditions of Sikh community.

He said the Congress-led government had also decided to deny membership to chief Khalsa Diwan, one of the oldest Sikh institution which was earlier represented on the Board.

"This anti-Sikh decision was a part of a deep rooted conspiracy of the Congress to lower the dignity of Sikh religious institutions, including the Takht Sri Hazur Sahib and the SGPC," he alleged.

Appealing to the Prime Minister to prevent the situation from getting worse, Badal said the Centre should take appropriate measures to refrain the Maharashtra government from going ahead with this "unwarranted dangerous move".

"The curious aspect of the decision is that while the number of members of the Board has been increased from 17 to 21, the number of representatives of the SGPC, the apex elected religious body of the Sikh, has been curtailed from four to one...At the same time, the number of the Maharashtra government nominees has been doubled," he said.

"This is not only illogical but also prima facie mischievous," he said.

Accusing it to be a conspiracy of the Congress leadership to weaken the Sikh community, Badal said the party has "always tried to either capture SGPC, the supreme elected body of the Sikhs, or to weaken it through political and governmental interference".

"The tension generated by their unwarranted interference in Sikh religious affairs in Haryana were still raging, the chief minister said.

The action of the Maharashtra government now was bound to further vitiate the atmosphere as there could be no moral, political or religious justifications for such interference, he claimed.

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