Minorities panel for separate gurdwara body in HaryanaAugust 25th, 2008 - 11:39 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 25 (IANS) The National Commission for Minorities has supported Haryana’s demand for a parallel Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) in the state, saying Sikhs there have the right to select a separate body to manage their religious affairs. “Sikhs in Haryana should be allowed to elect their representatives for management of gurdwaras in the state,” NCM member Harcharan Singh Josh told IANS.
The demand for a separate Sikh body for Haryana has met with strong opposition from Punjab’s ruling Akali Dal, which submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday, urging him to “intervene effectively and immediately to save Punjab from being turned into another Kashmir”.
The SGPC is the body that manages the affairs of all major gurdwaras in the country except Delhi.
Sikhs in Haryana are demanding a separate body similar to the one in the capital - the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) - to manage their religious affairs.
“There are 1.3 million Sikhs in Haryana and they have the right to elect their body by a democratic process. There is no question of the powers of SGPC being diluted by it,” Josh said.
The formation of a separate gurdwara panel for Haryana was part of the Congress manifesto for the 2005 assembly elections.
After coming to power, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda constituted an eight-member committee in August 2005 with the mandate of seeking the view of Sikhs on whether they wanted a separate gurdwara panel.
The Harmohinder Singh Chatha Committee got representations from 128,556 Sikhs in favour of a separate gurdwara committee in Haryana.
On the basis of representations, the committee concluded that a separate gurdwara committee be constituted in Haryana as the Amritsar-based SGPC was deliberately not involving Sikhs from the state in the management of gurdwaras there.