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Tension in Kurukshetra as HSGPC lays siege to gurdwara

Posted on Aug 02 2014 | IANS

Chandigarh, Aug 2 : Tension prevailed in Haryana's Kurukshetra town Saturday as leaders and supporters of the newly-constituted Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC) laid siege to a big gurdwara.

Heavy police deployment was seen near the gurdwara as leaders of the HSGPC and their supporters marched towards Gurdwara Chatti Patshahi and tried to take control of the shrine, one of the state's biggest, in Kurukshetra, about 110 km from here.

Those trying to take control of the shrine broke two police barriers put in their route.

Members of the task force and other volunteers of the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which still controls Sikh shrines in Haryana, gathered inside the shrine premises, ready to resist any attempt for a forcible take over. Many people from both sides 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 defuse 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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