Won’t let RSS, government meddle in gurdwara affairs: SGPC chief

The SGPC chief’s statement came a day after the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat snubbed SAD over remarks by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa who asked the BJP “not to meddle in gurdwara affairs”.
SGPC President Gobind Longowal at an event on Thursday, January 31, 2019.(HT Photo)
SGPC President Gobind Longowal at an event on Thursday, January 31, 2019.(HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 01, 2019 02:55 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Amritsar / Sangrur | ByHT Correspondents, Amritsar/sangrur

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal on Thursday took exception to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)- affiliate Rashtriya Sikh Sangat’s remark that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is controlling all the gurdwaras, saying the saffron outfit always tries to create confusion among Sikhs.

The apex gurdwara body chief said they won’t let the government and the RSS meddle in Sikh affairs. The statement came a day after the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat snubbed SAD over remarks by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa who asked the BJP “not to meddle in gurdwara affairs”.

“We condemn the statement of Rashtriya Sikh Sangat national secretary Avtar Singh Shastri. The management of gurdwaras is run only by SGPC which is the elected body of Sikhs,” said Longowal in a press release.

Avtar Singh had said on Wednesday, “Sikh matters are not the dominion of the Akali Dal. They exploit religious institutions for their political motives. Sirsa has no moral right to criticise the party he represents as an MLA. If Sirsa is opposed to any of the BJP’s decision, he should first resign from the party.”

Sirsa, who belongs to the Akali Dal became an MLA on a BJP ticket as an ‘agreement’ between the two parties.

Singh reacted hours after Sirsa issued a statement lashing out at the BJP for installing its own men at Takht Hazoor Sahib in Nanded (Maharashtra). “If the BJP doesn’t stop interfering in gurdwara matters, we will not hesitate in sacrificing our alliance,” Sirsa had said.

Longowal said, “The Maharashtra government wants to make its own president of Takht Sri Hazur Sahib Board by amending Section 11 of the board’s 1956 Act, which is not right, and Sikh Sangat has been opposing this move.”

He said, “The RSS should never forget that Sikhs have a history of bravery and we are living in an independent country for them. Sikhs respect all religions but they will not tolerate interference of anyone in their affairs.”

On the arrest of former Moga senior superintendent of police (SSP) Charanjit Singh Sharma, one of the accused in the Behbal Kalan firing case, the SGPC chief said they were satisfied with the development and all the culprits should be behind bars. He said this at Mastuana Sahib where he had gone to pay obeisance to Sant Attar Singh on his 92th death anniversary.

“But the matter should not be politicised and the special investigation team (SIT) should work without any pressure,” he said.

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Thursday, January 27, 2022