Role of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee at Kartarpur Sahib intact, says its chief
Amid reports that the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has lost control over Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, with the setting up of a government body to manage the historic shrine, its president Satwant Singh on Thursday clarified that the PSGPC’s role in the gurdwara management remains intact.
His clarification comes even as the ministry of external affairs said India received representations from the Sikh community expressing concern over the decision to transfer the management and maintenance of the Kartarpur gurdwara from the PSGPC to the administrative control of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETBP), a non-Sikh body.
“The fresh move of the Pakistan government is being misreported. Arrangements for the construction, maintenance and security outside the gurdwara are made by the ETPB, while arrangements related to Sikh rituals are still under the control of the PSGPC at Kartarpur Sahib and other historic gurdwaras in Pakistan,” Satwant Singh said over phone.
“The PSGPC will continue to control the arrangements inside the gurdwara, including langar (community kitchen), accommodation of pilgrims, preparation and distribution of karah parshad, holding Akhand Path Sahib and managing the golak (donation box). These arrangements are related to Sikh Rehat Maryada and are being conducted by the PSGPC,” he said.
The ETPB is a statutory board of the Government of Pakistan that administers evacuee properties, including educational, charitable or religious trusts left behind by Hindus and Sikhs who migrated to India after Partition.
According to a notification on November 3, a project management unit (PMU), a self-financing body, for the management and maintenance of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, has been constituted under the administrative control of the ETPB. A total of nine officers have been posted under this body and all of them are Muslims.
SIKH LEADERS EXAGGERATING, MISINFORMED: PSGPC CHIEF
The move has evoked harsh reactions from the Sikh leaders in India.
“Disgusted and shocked to see PSGPC losing control of the management of Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib and Pak Govt setting up a Project Management Unit to implement project business plan,” said Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), in a social media post.
He said, “The management of Gurdwara Sahib & Langar snatched from Sikhs and given to an Islamic organisation. Gurdwara Sahibs have always been managed by Sikhs but dictatorial Pak govt has given this sewa to non-Sikhs who have no understanding of Sikh Maryada or teachings of Guru Sahibs.”
“On behalf of global Sikh community, we strongly condemn this move & demand restoring the right of sewa back to PSGPC. This move is not acceptable to Sikhs and we request @DrSJaishankar Ji to take up this issue at the very earliest with Pak Govt,” he added.
The PSGPC president said, “I reject this statement which is exaggerated and full of misinformation.”
YEAR AFTER CORRIDOR OPENING
In November last year, the two countries threw open a corridor linking Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur in India with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, in a historic people-to-people initiative.
The Kartarpur gurdwara is the last resting place of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak and Indian pilgrims have a visa-free access to it. The shrine is barely 4 km from the India-Pakistan border.