Congress opposes move to summon PM to Akal Takht

September 5th, 2011 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Chandigarh, Sep 5 (IANS) Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh Monday opposed the idea of the Sikh clergy to summon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the Akal Takht in Amritsar.

“With all respect to the sanctity and authority of Akal Takht Sahib, the prime minister cannot be summoned there,” the state Congress president told reporters in Hoshiarpur, 150 km from here.

At a meeting in Amritsar Friday, the Sikh clergy indicated that they could summon the prime minister to the Akal Takht over the purported withdrawal of a 2003 notification on the voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) election.

Sehajdhari Sikhs are those who follow the religion but trim or cut their beard and hair in violation of its tenets.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram had told parliament later that the central government had not withdrawn the notification that barred Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in SGPC polls.

“I have no idea as to who had demanded or suggested summoning the prime minister to Akal Takht Sahib,” Amarinder Singh said. “But I do not agree with the idea.

“When in office, a prime minister does not belong to any religion as he represents all the people. If there is any such idea, there should be rethinking,” he added.

Sikh priests had warned the prime minister against government interference in the religious affairs of the Sikh community and threatened to summon him to the Akal Takht if the interference continued.

“The move by the centre has hurt Sikh sentiments worldwide,” Akal Takht jathedar Gurbachan Singh told reporters.

“We (ask Manmohan Singh) to stay alert and be aware that the Sikh’s basic tenets, maryada (code of conduct) and traditions cannot be interfered with.?

The SGPC - an elected body of Sikhs for the control and management of gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh — has an annual budget of Rs.580 crore.

Election for 170 executive council members are to be held Sep 18.

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