The rival factions of the “ad hoc” Haryana Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee have decided to bury the hatchet. Their leaders Didar Singh Nalvi and Jagdish Singh Jhinda have announced that they will organise a joint “maha sammelan” (large conference) of the community to highlight their demands, which includes formation of a separate committee to manage the gurdwaras in Haryana.
Talking to reporters after a meeting of the executive body of the ad hoc HGPC, Mr. Nalvi and Mr. Jhinda said the conference would be held at Kaithal on July 6, to which Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda would be invited. Earlier, the event was scheduled at Sirsa on June 25.
The community, which accounts for nearly 15 percent of the state’s population, would expect a “favourable and decisive” announcement from the Chief Minister, they added.
Mr. Jhinda said that since the year 2000 the Sikhs of Haryana have been demanding a separate committee that was outside the ambit of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which is referred to as the mini parliament of the Sikhs. He said that Haryana Sikhs were only seeking the implementation of the statutory obligation as allowed under clause 72 of the Punjab Re-organisation Act 1966.
The Haryana Sikh leader said that the Congress party had twice promised in its manifesto to set up HGPC. The special panel set up under the chairmanship of H.S. Chattha, who is currently the Finance Minister of the State, had also recommended the formation of the HGPC.
Mr. Nalvi said that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was unnecessarily creating hurdles in the aspirations of the Sikh community in Haryana. He said that the SGPC was formed under the Gurdwara Act of 1925. After 1947, SGPC lost its jurisdiction over the shrines in Pakistan and Delhi, where separate committees were formed.
He said that there were separate managements for Gurdwaras in Maharashtra and Bihar, especially at Nanded and Patna, respectively. Yet another committee managed the shrine at Hemkunt Sahib in Uttarakhand.
“Why is Mr. Badal opposed to the genuine demands of the Haryana Sikhs only?” he asked. Mr. Nalvi said that as Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr. Badal had no legal right to interfere in the affairs of Haryana's Sikh community, but as a Panthic leader it was his moral obligation to co-operate and facilitate the community. He claimed that by managing 73 shrines in Haryana, the SGPC earned nearly Rs. 180 crore, but did not spend anything beyond routine maintenance charges of paying electricity bills, organising parshad and langar (community kitchen).