Amritsar: While members from Haryana staged a walkout, the general house meeting of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Friday vowed to oppose the Haryana government move to form a separate committee to manage gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in that state.
The SGPC general house “unanimously” decided to fight the Haryana government move to announce a separate SGPC for Haryana by Nov 1.
Six members of the SGPC, the mini-parliament of Sikh religion with an annual budget of nearly Rs 4.5 billion (Rs.450 crore), walked out of the meeting and boycotted it. They said the SGPC was not doing enough for gurdwaras in Haryana and Sikhs in that state, and had no authority to oppose a separate SGPC there.
SGPC member from Haryana Jagdish Singh told media here that the SGPC and its president Avtar Singh Makkar had never bothered about Haryana Sikhs and gurdwaras there.
“The demand for a separate SGPC in Haryana is a genuine one,” he said.
A total of 135 SGPC members attended Friday’s emergency meeting to discuss the controversy over the setting up of a separate SGPC for Haryana.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had earlier this month said that an announcement for a separate SGPC for Haryana might be made November 1.
The statement led to stiff opposition from the Amritsar-based SGPC and also the ruling Akali Dal in Punjab. Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs stalled parliament, demanding that the central government intervene in the matter to stop the Hooda government from creating a separate SGPC for Haryana.
Makkar told the meeting: “The Congress governments at the centre and in Haryana are hell-bent on dividing Sikhs. We will never allow this to happen. We will do everything to stop a separate SGPC to be formed in Haryana.”
The SGPC currently controls gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, including the holiest of Sikh shrines, the Harmandar Sahib (popularly known as Golden Temple) in Amritsar.
Gurdwaras in Delhi, however, are managed by a separate committee.