Maharashtra govt meddling in Sikh religious affairs: Akal Takht, SGPC - Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra govt meddling in Sikh religious affairs: Akal Takht, SGPC

ByHT Correspondent/Surjit Singh, Amritsar
Feb 08, 2024 09:38 AM IST

The Maharashtra Cabinet’s decision to amend the Nanded Sikh Gurudwara Sachkhand Shri Hazur Apchalnagar Sahib (Amendment) Act, thereby reducing Sikh bodies’ representation and increasing nominated members, has sparked sharp reactions from the Akal Takht and SGPC

The Maharashtra Cabinet’s decision to amend the Nanded Sikh Gurudwara Sachkhand Shri Hazur Apchalnagar Sahib (Amendment) Act, thereby reducing Sikh bodies’ representation and increasing nominated members, has sparked sharp reactions from the Akal Takht and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, who have slammed the government for “meddling in Sikh religious affairs.”

As per the amendment, which was passed on February 5, the state government has allowed direct nomination of 12 of 17 members of the Board (Representational Image/HT File)
As per the amendment, which was passed on February 5, the state government has allowed direct nomination of 12 of 17 members of the Board (Representational Image/HT File)

As per the amendment, which was passed on February 5, the state government has allowed direct nomination of 12 of 17 members of the Board. Additionally, the number of members sent by the SGPC has been reduced from four to two, and the nominations by the Chief Khalsa Diwan, Hazuri Sachkhand Diwan and membership of two Sikh MPs has been abolished.

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Condemning the amendment, the Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh said, “This is clearly an act of meddling in the religious affairs of the Sikhs. Such kind of government interference cannot be tolerated at any cost. The SGPC is directed to ensure revocation of this anti-Sikh decision.”

An act to take direct control of shrines: Dhami

SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami said that the decision taken by the Maharashtra government was a direct interference in Sikh gurdwara affairs. “The Maharashtra government’s decision to increase the number of government nominated members and reduce the members of Sikh organisations in the Gurdwara Board is an act to take direct control of Sikh shrines. No advance consultation was done with the Sikhs before proposing such an amendment,” he said.

Seeking roll back of the decision, he also urged Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde to “immediately stop conspiracies to increase government influence in management and concerns of Sikh shrines.”

SAD condemns amendment

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) also condemned the Eknath Shinde government for reconstituting the Act to “the detriment of the Sikh community.”

SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema said the move amounted to direct interference into Sikh religious affairs and demanded that it be revoked immediately. “It appears the Eknath Shinde government wants to take control over the Gurdwara Board arbitrarily, which will not be tolerated by the Sikh sangat.”

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