The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Tuesday formed a five-member committee to review the controversial structure of a gurdwara modelled on the Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple). Gurdwara Sachkhand Angeetha Sahib, Mastuana, situated on the Sangrur-Barnala road, about 60 km from Patiala, has been repeatedly in
the eye of a storm over the past two decades.
The SGPC took the decision after a group of Sikhs climbed atop an overhead water tank in the Bhawanigarh tehsil complex in protest against the installation of Guru Granth Sahib in the gurdwara. The protesters, led by Parshotam Singh Phagguwala, a Panthic leader, claimed that they were carrying cyanide capsules and would commit suicide if their demand for action against the gurdwara management committee was not met. They withdrew their protest and came down the water tank after the SGPC set up the panel.
"Harmandar Sahib was established by the Sikh Gurus. There is no place for its replica anywhere in the world," said SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.
He said the committee would visit the gurdwara premises and stop ongoing construction, if any. He added that the committee would submit a report, on the basis of which the SGPC would take further action.
The committee, headed by SGPC vice-president Kewal Singh Badal, includes general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, SGPC members Karnail Singh Panjoli, Rajinder Singh Mehta and Mohan Singh Bangi.
According to the SGPC, the Mastuana gurdwara is a replica of the Golden Temple. Phagguwala, who has been spearheading a campaign for the demolition of this gurdwara since 1994, had started a hunger strike on Sunday against the installation of Guru Granth Sahib on its premises. However, he withdrew the strike after the SGPC's intervention.
The SGPC must act against this fake Golden Temple, Phagguwala added.
Surjit Singh and Jaswant Singh Khaira, president and secretary, respectively, of Gurdwara Mastuana Sahib, said, "We obeyed the hukamnama and made changes in the structure of the building. No further construction has taken place." They said the SGPC committee was welcome to visit the gurdwara.
Mired in controversy
Gurdwara Sachkhand Angeetha Sahib at Mastuana on the Sangrur-Barnala road is a shrine owned by the Mastuana dera, headed by Sant Sadhu Singh. The sect has followers in the lower strata of society
The gurdwara's construction began in 1967. It was in 1994 that Sikhs first objected to its structure, which resembles the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine. In 1996, then Akal Takht jathedar Manjit Singh issued a hukamnama (edict), stopping construction and ordering changes in the gurdwara structure
In 2008, the gurdwara management resumed construction, which triggered an agitation by Sikhs, who approached the Akal Takht and SGPC. In 2009, the Akal Takht issued another hukamnama and stopped further construction after getting a written apology from the gurdwara management. The SGPC ordered the closure of the Har-ki-Pauri.
Some radicals tried to demolish the gurdwara in 2009, but their attempt was thwarted by dera followers and police.