Chandigarh, July 23 IANS | 3 months ago

The Haryana government Wednesday nominated 41 Sikh leaders as members of the ad-hoc Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee that may escalate controversy over the HSGPC.

The committee has been announced "to manage, supervise and take over the assets of the gurdwaras in the state, including moveable and immoveable properties of every description", a state government spokesman said here.

Haryana Sikh leaders Jagdish Singh Jhinda, Didar Singh Nalvi and 39 others have been named in the committee.

The spokesman said the committee had been constituted under the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Act, 2014.

It shall continue to hold charge and manage the affairs of the gurdwaras in Haryana until a new committee is elected as provided for in the act.

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab and the Amritsar-based SGPC have strongly opposed the creation of the new Haryana Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC) for Haryana Sikh shrines.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and M. Venkaiah Naidu July 16-18 to seek the central government's intervention in Haryana's separate gurdwara committee move.

The Haryana assembly June 11 passed a bill under which a new committee would be set up to manage gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in the state.

The Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014 received the assent of the Haryana governor June 14.

Union home secretary Anil Goswami wrote to the Haryana chief secretary and the Haryana governor's office seeking the assent to the bill be withdrawn. However, the Haryana government outright rejected the plea.

The Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs, which controls gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, will lose control over 72 gurdwaras in Haryana with the new law in the state.

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

The Akali Dal has called a mega conference of Sikh religion in Amritsar July 27 to decide the future course of action on the HSGPC controversy.

Badal has warned of an agitation over the issue and said this could disturb peace in the region.

The Akali Dal and the SGPC have stationed volunteers and task force members at Haryana gurdwaras to resist any forced physical takeover of the shrines by the ad-hoc committee.

(Posted on 23-07-2014)

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