Haryana SGPC chief held, supporters block rail tracks (Lead)

September 15th, 2010 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Kurukshetra (Haryana), Sep 15 (IANS) Sikh protesters disrupted rail traffic near Kurukshetra as two people, including Sikh leader Jagdish Singh Jhinda, were arrested Wednesday to maintain law and order after they set a deadline to take over control of Sikh shrines in Haryana.
Jhinda, who heads an adhoc Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in Haryana, decided to take over control of Sikh shrines in the state by Wednesday from the Punjab-based SGPC.

Hundreds of Sikhs from all across the state gathered here Wednesday to take part in the movement.

“We have arrested Haryana SGPC president Jagdish Singh Jhinda and a youth leader of the SGPC Kamaljeet Singh Ajnala as a preventive measure. They could instigate the public to indulge in violence,” district police chief Sultan Singh told IANS.

“Foolproof security arrangements have been made in all parts of Kurukshetra. Our senior officials are supervising the entire operation and we would not allow anyone to disturb the law and order situation of this region,” he added.

Later Sikh protesters stopped a goods train near Kurukshetra railway station to protest against Jhinda’s arrest.

“Scores of Sikh protesters sat on the railway track and disrupted rail traffic. They were adamant and we had to stop a goods train because of this,” said a Kurukshetra railway official.

Rail traffic was disrupted at other places as well.

“Protesters are trying to disrupt rail traffic between Kurukshetra and Dodakheri since evening. It would certainly delay trains coming to Ambala from Delhi,” G.M. Singh, commercial manager of the Ambala railway division, told IANS.

The Sikh leadership in Haryana accuses the SGPC of neglecting the state’s gurdwaras and Sikhs, despite these shrines contributing a revenue of Rs.10 crore to the SGPC kitty annually.

However, the SGPC, which is headquartered at the Golden Temple Complex in Punjab’s Amritsar, has refuted all claims of Jhinda and his supporters.

Punjab-based SGPC’s president Avtar Singh Makkar said: “They should follow the rules. They are not allowed to take law into their hands. We are serving Haryana gurdwaras with full dedication and would not allow anyone to interfere in our matters.”

The Jhinda faction of the SGPC in Haryana forcibly took control of the Gurdwara Chhati Pathshai (Sixth Master) here, 110 km from Chandigarh, in September last year. The Punjab-based SGPC regained control of the shrine after a day.

The SGPC, called the mini-parliament of Sikh religion, is dominated by the ruling Akali Dal in Punjab and is a cash-rich organisation with an annual budget of nearly Rs.450 crore.

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