Terming a move by the Haryana government to set up a separate committee for management of Sikh shrines in the state as illegal and wrong, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday said it was a desperate attempt on the part of Congress party to hand over the control of Gurudwaras to its agents in Haryana. Badal alleged this ill-conceived move was aimed at dividing the Sikhs on one hand and destabilising the Sikh panth on the other.
Interacting with the media persons on the sidelines of inaugural ceremony of the newly constructed Rs 65-crore Mandi Board Office in Mohali, the chief minister said the Haryana Congress was following the footsteps of the erstwhile British government which appointed their stooges (Mahants) to run the affairs of Gurudwaras in the pre-SGPC period, as a result of which the Gurudwara Reforms Movement was initiated, which led to the formation of SGPC in 1925, “after countless sacrifices by the Sikhs”.
Corroborating his assertion, Badal said the Sikhs from Haryana never wanted a Haryana Sikh Gurudwara Prabandak Committee (HSGPC), as it was aptly proved in the last general elections of SGPC when all the 11 seats in Haryana were captured by the Shiromani Akali Dal with a thumping majority. The so-called protagonists of HSGPC such as Jinda and Nalwi were badly trounced and could not even save their security deposits from forfeiture, added Badal. However, he said, now these cronies were playing into the hands of Haryana Congress in furthering its political motives, eyeing the forthcoming state Assembly elections.
The chief minister also slammed the Haryana Congress for including the demand of HSGPC in its election manifesto with an ulterior motive to exploit the religious sentiments of Sikhs living there. However, Badal categorically said the entire episode for the creation of separate committee was merely a political gimmick of Congress which would soon unfold into reality.