Haryana minister excommunicated from Sikh community

Amritsar : A Sikh minister in the Haryana government and two other senior Sikh leaders were Wednesday excommunicated from the community for anti-religious activities by the Akal Takht.

The action follows the setting up of a separate committee by the Haryana government to run the affairs of gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in the state.

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Those excommunicated include Finance Minister Harmohinder Singh Chatha, and senior Sikh leaders Jagdish Singh Jhinda and Didar Singh Nalwi.

The Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikh religion, has ordered that no Sikh should have any association with the excommunicated leaders.

The three will have to appear before the Akal Takht and seek penance under religious conventions.

The Haryana assembly Friday passed a bill under which a new Haryana Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC) will be set up to manage gurdwaras in the state.

The Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014, received the assent of Governor Jagannath Pahadia Monday.

The gurdwaras were so far managed by the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) that had opposed the move of the Congress government in Haryana, headed by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, for a separate committee.

Chatha headed a committee which recommended the setting up of a separate gurdwara management body.

Chatha, Jhinda and Nalwi were called by the Akal Takht to discuss the controversial issue of a separate gurdwara management body in Haryana last week but they did not appear.

Following this, hardline Sikh leader Harnam Singh Khalsa filed a complaint against them.

SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar welcomed the Akal Takht decision but radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa termed the edict as “unprincipled and unacceptable”.

Dal Khalsa head H.S. Dhami and spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said the edict “had the imprint of Badals”. They said the Badal duo — Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal – were using the Akal Takht to fix their political adversaries.

“The father-son (Badals) have made the jathedar (chief) of Akal Takht as their subservient and the SGPC as an extension counter of the Akali Dal,” they said in a statement.