HSGPC row: Tension in Kurukshetra

Chandigarh, Aug 2 :

Tension prevailed in Haryana’s Kurukshetra town Saturday as the newly-constituted Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC) tried to take control of the Gurdwara Chatti Patshahi, one of the state’s biggest.

Heavy police deployment was seen near the gurdwara as leaders of the HSGPC and their supporters marched towards the shrine.
Those trying to take control of the shrine broke two police barriers put in their route. Kurukshetra is about 110 km from here.

Members of the task force and other volunteers of the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which still controls Sikh shrines in Haryana, might resist any attempt to forcibly take over the shrine. Many of them were carrying traditional weapons like swords, spears and sticks.

Police officials said they were trying to pacify the HSGPC and their supporters and stop them from turning the situation into a violent one. “We are trying to diffuse the situation,” a police officer said.

“Sikhs from Haryana have come here to take control of the gurdwara. We appeal to all Sikhs to reach here and help in taking over the gurdwara. Today, we will definitely take control of the gurdwara,” said HSGPC office bearer Joga Singh.

The HSPGC had Friday asked the SGPC to hand over records of the Haryana gurdwaras to it. The SGPC had categorically refused to do so.

Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the SGPC are locked in a bitter controversy with the Haryana’s Bhupinder Singh Hooda government over the creation of the HSGPC. They have both strongly opposed the creation of the new HSGPC for Haryana Sikh shrines.

On June 11, the Haryana assembly had passed a bill under which a new committee would be set up to manage gurdwaras in Haryana. The Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014, got the assent of the Haryana governor June 14.

The SGPC, the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs, which controls gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, will lose control over gurdwaras in Haryana with the new law.

The SGPC, which has a Rs.950-crore annual budget, controls majority of the gurdwaras in Punjab, including the holiest of all Sikh shrines ‘Harmandar Sahib’ (popularly known as Golden Temple) in Amritsar.


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