Hooda announces separate SGPC in Haryana; draws flak
Yielding to long-pending ‘demand of Sikhs’, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday announced a separate SGPC for his state, drawing flak from Amritsar-based SGPC and Akali Dal, which dubbed it as Congress ‘nefarious design to weaken’ the community.
At a function organised by Sikh leaders from Haryana at Kaithal, Hooda said a separate SGPC will be set up keeping in view the sentiments and aspirations of the Sikhs in his state and a law will be enacted to form the separate panel.
Hooda said that a bill to form a separate SGPC will be introduced in the monsoon session of Haryana Assembly commencing here from 11 July and the separate body would be set up as a legal entity.
While the Haryana Sikh leaders spearheading the campaign for separate body welcomed Hooda’s announcement as ‘historic’, it evoked strong condemnation from Amritsar-based SGPC - the apex religious body of the Sikhs -- with its chief Avtar Singh Makkar alleging that the move was Congress’ ‘nefarious design’ to ‘weaken’ the community.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is also chief patron of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, too was unsparing in his attack and blamed Congress for ‘meddling in the affairs of the Sikhs’.
Reacting to Hooda announcing a separate panel to manage the affairs of Gurudwaras of Haryana, which are presently under the control of the Amritsar-based body, the SGPC chief said, ‘They have tried to directly challenge the Akal Takht - the supreme temporal body of the community - and take it head-on. They have tried to take on the Akal Takht and break away from it.’
Makkar said that SGPC has petitioned Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to restrain Haryana Government from proceeding further with their ‘nefarious designs’. ‘The Congress party is walking on the footsteps of tyrannical Mughal rule to weaken the Sikh power. After operation Blue Star and anti-Sikh riots of 1984, this was the third major assault of Congress against the Sikh community,’ 86-year-old Badal told reporters in Patiala.