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HSGMC talks: stalemate before opening moves

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Haryana Sikhs may have met near Yamunanagar on Monday but to break ice on the separate gurdwara committee issue, they need to end more deadlocks.
Hindustan Times | By Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON AUG 05, 2014 11:12 PM IST

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Haryana Sikhs may have met near Yamunanagar on Monday but to break ice on the separate gurdwara committee issue, they need to end more deadlocks.

They may have authorised Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar to make a committee to find the solution and he may have announced it would come into existence on Thursday but Sikh scholars do not expect any quick results. "It's only preliminary intervention. The hitherto ignored Haryana Sikhs have gained importance with the formation of Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC)," is how Pirthipal Singh Kapoor, writer of the Encyclopedia of Sikhism, analysed the situation a day after hectic efforts to end the standoff.

The people that former Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Paramjit Singh Sarna has proposed Makkar doesn't want on the resolution committee, while the Haryana Sikh leaders won't accept the SGPC chief as its head.

"We are not going to accept the names suggested by Sarna (Gurtej Singh, Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, GS Garewal, Karamjit Singh, SP Singh and Pirthipal Singh Kapoor), as these people oppose us already," Makkar has said even before things have started to move. The next meeting with the Haryana Sikhs would only be after the committee was formed, he added.

"A beginning is made, now the ball is in the court of the Badals (Punjab's ruling family)," said Sarna, claiming that Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh had asked him to bring the two sides to the negotiating table and he had done his job.

Other than Sarna, Makkar and Kapoor, SAD secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa; general secretaries Prem Singh Chandumajra and Balwinder Singh Bhundar; and secretary Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema attended the meeting. From the HSGMC, secretary Joga Singh and members Bhupinder Singh Assand and Harpal Singh Pali participated.
"I told them (SAD leaders) to first ensure that the ex-communication of Haryana leaders, including Jagdish Singh Jhinda and Didar Singh Nalwi, is revoked," Sarna said after Monday's meeting, while the Akali leaders said the HSGMC siege of the Gurdwara Chhevin Patshahi in Kurukshetra should end first.

"The ex-communication of the Haryana Sikhs would be revoked automatically once things start moving in the right direction from their side," said Makkar. Sarna, however, said since the HSGMC now was a legal entity, nothing could be done about that. "I have consulted legal experts. The Haryana Sikhs are on a strong footing. The rest is between the two warring groups; they are free to decide anything," Sarna added.

HSGMC general secretary Joga Singh, who attended Monday's meeting, has said that it was prescheduled and with the prior consent of the executive body, including HSGMC president Jagdish Singh Jhinda. He denied that the Haryana side had agreed to accept a five-member committee led by SGPC president Makkar.

Passing a bill in the Vidhan Sabha last month, the Haryana government had made the HSGMC, to which the SAD and the SGPC had objected. The HSGMC has now moved in to take control of important gurdwaras in Haryana, where armed men of the SGPC and the SAD are waiting inside to resist.

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