Haryana’s demand for separate Sikh body could irk Punjab

February 21st, 2009 - 2:15 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghChandigarh, Feb 21 (IANS) The submission Friday of a report to Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda suggesting the formation of a separate Sikh body to manage Sikh shrines in the state could lead to friction with Sikh leaders of neighbouring Punjab.
The report for having a separate Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) for Haryana was submitted Friday to Chief Minister Hooda by a committee headed by Haryana’s Agriculture Minister H.S. Chatha.

Hooda later admitted that he had received the report and added that a three-member committee, to be headed by Haryana’s advocate general, would examine the report and suggest how its recommendations could be legally implemented.

Hooda said any decision in this regard would be taken keeping in view the aspirations of the Sikhs, particularly from Haryana.

Some Sikh organizations in Haryana have been demanding a separate SGPC for the state.

Presently, most Sikh shrines in the state are being managed by the SGPC based in the holy city of Amritsar in Punjab.

Chatha did not reveal the contents of his report. He said that the committee had received 128,556 affidavits in this connection.

The report and the move to have a separate SGPC for Haryana could lead to a controversy with the Punjab-based SGPC. The SGPC, the mini-parliament of Sikh religion, has an annual budget of nearly Rs.4 billion (400 crore).

SGPC leaders and others from Punjab had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh nearly three months ago to seek his intervention in the move by the Haryana government to have a separate SGPC in the state.

The SGPC had even planned a big rally against the move in Haryana’s Karnal town in November last year but had called it off later.

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