With Haryana giving clear indications of going ahead to set up a separate Sikh body to manage gurdwaras in the state, Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal met union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to seek the central government's intervention in the matter.
An Akali Dal spokesman said that Badal met Rajnath Singh in Delhi and briefed him "about the mischief being played by the Congress party to divide and weaken the Sikh community by propping up the demand for a separate management committee to manage Sikh affairs in Haryana".
Badal, who is the Punjab deputy chief minister, said that there was no need or provocation for the Haryana government to get involved in religious matters.
"The Congress was deliberately stoking religious sentiments in an attempt to split the Sikh community in line with its age-old divide and rule strategy," he claimed.
The Akali Dal dominates the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs, which currently controls gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Badal said that the Congress government in Haryana led by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was playing a political game at the behest of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Amid growing controversy over the issue, Hooda claimed that a committee set up the state government on the issue of a separate managing committee for Haryana gurdwaras had submitted its report in favour of the move.
The committee, headed by state Finance Minister Harmohinder Singh Chatha, who is himself a Sikh from Haryana, has recommended the setting up of a separate body to manage Sikh shrines (gurdwaras) in Haryana.
There are 72 gurdwaras in Haryana under the SGPC and they contribute over Rs.30 crore to the SGPC kitty. The SGPC controls majority of the gurdwaras in Punjab, including the holiest of all Sikh shrines, the 'Harmandar Sahib' (popularly known as Golden Temple) in Amritsar.
The SGPC has warned that it will drag the Haryana government to court if a separate managing committee was set up in Haryana.
SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said that the move was in violation of an act of parliament.
Gurdwaras in Delhi are managed by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).