Sikh faction takes over Haryana shrine managed by SGPC


Kurukshetra (Haryana) : A faction of Sikh leaders took over a gurdwara in this Haryana town, which was controlled by Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). The faction leaders said they had taken over the shrine without using force and as per the law.

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Gurdwara Chhati Pathshai here, around 110 km from the state capital Chandigarh, was occupied by members of Haryana’s ad-hoc committee of SGPC.

The SGPC, a parliament of sorts of the Sikh religion, manages Sikh shrines of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, including the holiest Sikh shrine Harmandar Sahib (popularly known as Golden Temple) at Amritsar in Punjab.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had earlier said that a separate SGPC would be constituted on Haryana Day Nov 1, the day Haryana was carved out in 1966 as a separate state from Punjab, provided there are no legal hitches.

“They have taken law into their hands and broken the locks of the gurdwara doors to gain entry inside the premises. They are spreading mayhem in the state just like old Mughal rulers,” Raghuveer Singh Virk, senior vice-president of SGPC, told IANS Sunday.

He added: “By doing so, they violated SGPC Act of 1925. A legitimate body that comes into power only after proper elections and controls all the gurdwaras. We are going to register a case of trespassing and dacoity against them with the police. We will make sure that they have to pay heavy price for this.”

However, senior leader of Haryana’s ad-hoc committee of SGPC refuted the allegations.

“In our meeting on Aug 28 at Kaithal, we had decided that we will take over all the gurdwaras in Haryana. We did not enter forcibly or violate any norm. We did not even remove the SGPC men from the shrine,” said Jagdish Singh Jhinda, president of ad-hoc committee of SGPC.

“All the allegations against us are baseless and we only want the welfare of Sikh community in Haryana. Gates of gurudwara Chhati Pathshai are open for everyone,” said Jhinda.

Meanwhile, sources in the Punjab government told IANS that Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar were trying to contact Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to discuss the issue.

“There is no firm ground of this ad-hoc committee and they are working in connivance with the Haryana government. I am myself going to that gurudwara to check what is happening there. We have also called all the senior leaders of SGPC there,” Makkar told IANS.

Amidst all this, tension prevailed in the area as followers of both the groups started gathering outside the gurdwara.

“We have made sufficient arrangements to maintain law and order situation in the area. We are keeping a close tab on the situation,” said a senior official of Haryana Police.