Badal seeks PM's intervention in Maharashtra Sikh shrine controversy

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 21:26

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restrain the Congress government in Maharashtra from going ahead with its decision to reduce the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) representation in the Takht Hazur Sahib board.

The shrine, located at Nanded in Maharashtra, is one of the five Takhts (high religious seats) of the Sikh religion.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Badal said that the Maharashtra government's decision was "not an ordinary administrative decision as it concerned the sentiments and religious traditions of Sikh community".

"This anti-Sikh decision was a part of a deep-rooted conspiracy of the Congress to lower the dignity of Sikh religious institutions, including the Takht Sri Hazur Sahib and the SGPC," Badal alleged.

Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the SGPC were locked in a bitter controversy with the Congress government in Haryana recently over the setting up of a new Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC) to manage Sikh shrines in Haryana.

Badal urged Modi to direct the Maharashtra government to prevent the situation from getting worse. "The Government of India (GoI) should take appropriate measures for refraining the Maharashtra government from going ahead with this unwarranted dangerous move," he stressed.

Virtually alleging a conspiracy by the Maharashtra government, Badal said that the shrine board for the Takht was set up in 1956 through a legislative act and there had been no problem with it in the past 58 years.

"The other curious aspect of the decision is that while the number of members of the board has been increased from 17 to 21, the number of representatives of the SGPC, the apex elected religious body of the Sikhs, has been curtailed from four to one. This is not only illogical but also prima facie mischievous," he contended.

Noting that the number of the Maharashtra government nominees on the board had been doubled, Badal alleged that the whole move seemed to be to weaken the SGPC and the Sikh community.

First Published: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 21:26
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