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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Separate body for Haryana Gurdwaras: SGPC to move court

PTI  Chandigarh, June 30, 2014
First Published: 21:46 IST(30/6/2014) | Last Updated: 21:51 IST(30/6/2014)

Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) on Monday said it will challenge in court the Haryana government's proposed move to create a separate body for managing the affairs of Gurdwaras in the state.

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"SGPC will take legal action against Haryana government's proposed move for setting up a separate body to manage affairs of Sikh shrines," SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar told reporters after holding a meeting of interim committee of the religious body here.

SGPC will also bear the expenses that will arise in pursuing the case, he said.

Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has called a Sikh convention at Kaithal on July 6. Participants are likely to take a final call on the issue.

Makkar also cautioned Hooda-led Congress government against "interfering" in the "religious affairs" of Sikhs.

The SGPC president said the proposed move of Hooda government is "anti-Sikhs" and a "threat" to the unity of the community.

Makkar also condemned the Hooda government for allegedly not granting recognition to a medical college set up at Shahbad in Kurukshetra district of Haryana for the past over eight years.

The SGPC, popularly known as a mini parliament of Sikhs, manages around 70 Gurdwaras in Haryana.

It also controls a majority of Gurdwaras in Punjab, including the holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandir Sahib (popularly known as Golden Temple) in Amritsar, as well as Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Leaders of the SGPC and Akali Dal had met Union home minister Rajnath Singh last week to urge the Centre to stop the Haryana government from announcing a separate Gurdwara body.

Former chief minister Amarinder Singh said yesterday that Haryana is a separate state like Delhi, Bihar and Maharashtra which have their own bodies for managing the Gurdwaras.

"When those states can have their own bodies to manage their Gurdwaras why not Haryana?" he asked, adding,"or simply because Badal does not want to part with the huge resources the Gurdwaras generate there," the Congress leader said.

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