The Takht Hazoor Sahib at Nanded in Maharashtra has expressed its opposition to the proposal of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for the enactment of an All India Gurdwara Act.
This opposition was voiced by Giani Kulwant Singh, the jathedar of the Takht, during a meeting held at Nanded recently. Others who deliberated in the meeting included additional jathedar of the Takht, Giani Jyot Inder, the 'granthis' of the Nanded shrine and its management.
In a statement mailed to the media on Tuesday, Giani Kulwant Singh has asserted that the Sikhs of Maharashtra were against the enactment of such an act. His statement comes in the wake of the proposal put forward at a recent meeting that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"We will oppose this proposal at all costs and so will the Sikhs of Maharahstra and other states. It is a move by SAD to bring all the gurdwaras in the country under the control of the SGPC and this will not be allowed at any cost", the jathedar of the Takht added.
In the statement, the jathedar also pointed out that in 1999 and 2002 also, Badal had put forward a similar proposal before the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "At that time also, we had voiced our opinion against it", he added.
The jathedar announced that on June 19, the management of the Takht and the Sikhs of Nanded will hold a protest march against Badal's proposal. A memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister will also be submitted to the district collector on that day.
Besides Takht Hazoor Sahib, the other important Takht outside the control of the SGPC is Takht Patna Sahib. In the past, the SGPC had passed resolutions in its general house meetings in favour of an All India Gurdwara Act, apparently with a view to extending its sway to Sikh shrines outside the state of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and the union territory of Chandigarh.
This act also intends to bring the shrines managed by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) under the control of the SGPC. In the past, the DSGMC had also opposed this move but this time it will not do so as SAD now controls the Delhi committee.
The jathedar of Takht Hazoor Sahib, along with the jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib, is an invitee to the meetings called by the Akal Takht from time to time for taking important religious decisions.
However, Giani Kulwant Singh never attends these meetings and he is often represented by the additional jathedar, Giani Jyot Inder Singh.