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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Punjab’s Government, SGPC not on same page over joint function

SGPC wants the main event to be held at Guru Nanak Dev College, Sultanpur Lodhi, the government wishes to hold the function near a “Tent City” coming up in the historic town, where Guru Nanak spent 14 years of his life.

punjab Updated: Sep 03, 2019 12:06 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
At a recent meeting with chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on August 27, the SGPC changed its stand and said it will organise the main event and state government can make arrangements for it.
At a recent meeting with chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on August 27, the SGPC changed its stand and said it will organise the main event and state government can make arrangements for it. (Sanjeev Sharma / Hindustan Times)
         

The state government and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) are not on the same page over a joint event to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak to be held at Sultanpur Lodhi on November 12.

While the SGPC wants the main event to be held at Guru Nanak Dev College, Sultanpur Lodhi, the government wishes to hold the function near a “Tent City” coming up in the historic town, where Guru Nanak spent 14 years of his life.

A senior government official who doesn’t want to be named said they had already conveyed to the SGPC that the government will convene the main event and the gurdwara body will be looking after the arrangements. The government has even allotted the work for the “Tent City”, it is learnt.

At a recent meeting with chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on August 27, the SGPC changed its stand and said it will organise the main event and state government can make arrangements for it, said the official.

State tourism minister Charanjit Singh Channi said the SGPC was conveyed about the joint celebrations when a delegation of three ministers met Akal Takht jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh and SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal in Amritsar on June 29. Besides Channi, state jails minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and medical education minister OP Soni were part of the delegation.

“But when the SGPC delegation came to meet the CM, we were informed that they want to hold main event at their choice of venue. The state government wanted to hold the main function as the SGPC doesn’t represent the entire Sikh community and there are many who don’t like its functioning,” said Channi.

He said the SGPC is playing in the hands of Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and want to take control of the main function just to project the Badals as the “real representatives of Sikhs”.

“The SGPC delegation that met the CM in Chandigarh was asked for its consent to participate in the state government’s event. But they have not done so,” said Channi.

Going a step ahead, the SGPC has appointed former SGPC chief Jagir Kaur as in-charge of the main event. “Sikh religious events have always been organised and managed by the SGPC. The state governments, irrespective of the parties they represent, have been facilitators. We had already booked the place for the event last year and I appeal to state government to shun ego and join us in celebrations,” said Jagir Kaur.

The SGPC claims that when the three ministers met the Akal Takht jathedar, it was decided to form a five-member coordination committee of SGPC and the state government to hold the joint celebrations. “We immediately suggested three members, but the state government has not given the names of its two members for the committee as yet,” said an SGPC office-bearer.

First Published: Sep 03, 2019 01:14 IST