Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: With both sides refusing to budge from their stated positions, the row over Haryana government`s decision to create a separate Sikh gurdwara management committee could turn into a major confrontation with the Akali Dal government in Punjab.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today over the issue.
Taking to a news channel, Badal dubbed the issue as an constitutional crisis and alleged that the Haryana government has challenged the authority of the government of India by refusing to heed to its missive against the passing of a bill in the state assemblt for creation of a separate gurdwara committee, parallel to the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee.
Reports now indicate that the the Centre may go for a presidential reference on the matter.
What has raised the heat further is Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal`s hint that he may even step down to lead an agitation. The final decision is expected to be taken at a Sikh congregation in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar on July 27.
However, the Haryana government appears resolute on its plan to form a separate gurdwara committee and said that those against it can move court.
"In case anyone has an objection, he can challenge it in the Court of law. The court would see whether it is legal and deliver its verdict," Haryana Chief Secretary SC Choudhary said in a statement.
The Haryana government`s reaction came after the Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami in its letter to Choudhary said the bill passed by the state assembly has "no legal effect" and be withdrawn before any further complications arise.
"As the Governor has already given his assent to the bill, he cannot withdraw it after it has become a Law. A notification for Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Bill 2014, has already been issued, thus completing the legislative process," Choudhary said.
The Hooda government has gone ahead and nominated 41 people as members of newly-constituted separate SGPC to manage, supervise and take over the assets of the gurdwaras in the state, including movable and immovable properties of every description," an official spokesman said here.
The HSGPC which had been constituted under the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Act, 2014, 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, he added.
But the fight is far from over as SGPC Avtar Singh Makkar has announced that they would never surrender the control of Gurdwaras in Haryana even if they had to go to jail.
Makkar also demanded removal of Haryana chief secretary and Governor Jagannath Pahadia.
"Haryana`s Chief Secretary SC Chaudhary has made a mockery of the letter written by the Centre to the state government, asking Governor Jagannath Pahadia to withdraw his assent to the Bill on separate SGPC passed by the state assembly. Pahadia has proved himself more as a leader of Congress than as the constitutional head of the state, particularly in the case of Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. The Centre should sack him," he said.
"By forming a separate Gurdwara Management Committee in Haryana, the Haryana government has made a clear attempt to divide and weaken the Sikh community," he added.
Makkar said, "the SGPC is known world over as a Parliament of Sikhs. The community members from different parts of the world approach it, seeking solution to their problems."
He said that the strength of Sikhs lies in their unity not in their fragmentation. "The nefarious design of the Congress is a political game for narrow and immediate political gains," he alleged.