Hooda awaits legal opinion on separate SGPC for Haryana


Chandigarh : Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda Wednesday reiterated that a separate organisation would be set up to administer Sikh gurdwaras in the state — provided there are no legal hitches.

Support TwoCircles

“Our stand is very clear and we are already in the process of having a separate body for Haryana gurdwaras. But we cannot rush things as we are still waiting for legal opinion,” Hooda told reporters.

“I had never promised (anything) on this issue, earlier I had said we will have a separate SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) if there are no legal complexities. I cannot say when I will get the legal opinion, as experts are already looking into this matter,” he said.

A few months ago, Hooda had said a separate SGPC would be established on Haryana Day, Nov 1, the day the state was carved out of the erstwhile Punjab in 1966.

He also said he had over 128,000 affidavits from Haryana Sikhs supporting the move.

Political circles saw the Congress leader’s remarks as a move to placate the state’s sizeable Sikh population ahead of the Oct 13 assembly elections.

However, the Punjab-based SGPC, which manages gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, vociferously protested the move.

“Under no circumstances, we can allow the Haryana government to establish a separate SGPC as this move is clearly aimed at dividing the Sikhs of this region. We would not allow them to play with our religious sentiments,” SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar told IANS.

The SGPC, headquartered at the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, is dominated by Punjab’s ruling Akali Dal.