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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

SGPC misrepresenting accounts of Haryana shrines: ad hoc panel

Vishal Joshi, Hindustan Times  Karnal, July 05, 2014
First Published: 08:27 IST(5/7/2014) | Last Updated: 08:29 IST(5/7/2014)

Continuing its tirade against the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the Sikh leaders demanding an independent panel to manage the Sikh shrines of Haryana accused the Amritsar-based religious body of presenting false financial position before the public.

The SGPC through newspaper advertisements and official media interactions had been claiming that in the financial year 2012-13, the total income from the Haryana shrines was 30 crore and expenditure was 27 crore. At a press conference held at Kaithal on Thursday, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar had said that with only Rs. 3 crore in its kitty, how the Haryana leaders were demanding to part ways with the SGPC when the pending projects required a budget of more than Rs. 150 crore.

“Despite low collections, the SGPC is giving full financial support to Haryana in all religious and social projects of the Sikh community. A few Sikh leaders with personal aspirations are trying to divide the community by demanding a separate Sikh body,” Makkar had reportedly said.

However, the Haryana Sikh leaders put the annual religious earnings from the gurdwaras at more than Rs. 100 crore and charge the SGPC leadership with misappropriating religious money for their personal gains.

They also charged the SGPC officials with using the religious platform and its earnings to benefit the ruling Shiromani Akal Dal (Badal) of Punjab.

President of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (ad hoc) Jagdish Singh Jhinda alleged on Friday that there was no transparency in upkeeping the finances of the gurdwaras in Haryana.

Jhinda alleged that the financial irregularities were the major reason behind the demand for a separate gurdwara body.

He said that two small gurdwaras — Neem Sahib at Kaithal and Manji Sahib at Pehowa in Kurukshetra district — which have officer-bearers owing allegiance to the HSGPC, had an average annual remittance collection of more than Rs. 65 lakh each.

“Till 2006, these shrines were controlled by those close to the SGPC and its annual donation was shown between Rs. 4-5 lakh. Soon after a change in the office, the collection rose more than 12 times and we have been crying the religious bluff by the SGPC but there is no one to listen to us,” Jhinda alleged.

He argued that if two small shrines had annual earning close to Rs. 1.50 crore then no devoted Sikh would agree that eight historic gurdwaras associated with the Sikh Gurus and other shrines had meagre donation of Rs. 30 crore.

Similarly, key leader supporting HSGPC Didar Singh Nalwi said that the SGPC president and his team use expensive SUVs and they owe responsibility to the Sikh sangat on the details of luxuries they enjoy from the religious funds.

An ex-registrar of Punjabi University, Patiala and former SGPC member from Kurukshetra, Nalwi called the SGPC audits an eyewash, where the budgetary allocations were never earmarked.

He said that the SGPC started announcing socio-religious projects after 2000 only after a demand for a separate committee was raised but no project was completed. “The SGPC has only superficial activities in Haryana. Gurdwara Dhamdhan Sahib at Jind has more than 700-acre and other gurdwaras also have largescale landholdings and a separate committee would easily maintain interests of the Sikh sangat of Haryana,” said Nalwi.

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