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Bajwa warns Modi government against crushing Haryana Sikhs aspirations

Chandigarh: The Punjab Pradesh Congress President, Mr. Partap Singh Bajwa, warned the Narendra Modi government at the centre against any move to crush the aspirations of the Sikhs in Haryana by creating hurdles in the way of the formation of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee at the instance of the Chief Minister, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal. He slammed Mr. Badal for blaming the Congress President, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi rather than respecting the long pending demands of the Sikhs in the neighbouring state who wanted to manage their own religio-political affairs as they had been feeling neglected and discriminated against at the hands of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. He said the enabling provision to form this body existed under the Punjab Re-organisation Act and as such, there was nothing illegal about the move of the Haryana government to enact legislation for the creation of a separate gurdwara management panel for that state. He took Mr. Badal and his Deputy Chief Minister son Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal to task for misleading the people saying that the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 was an Act of Parliament whereas this legislation had been enacted by the Punjab Assembly. This Act went under the jurisdiction of the Parliament only when the SGPC became an inter-state body corporate with the division of Punjab in 1966. He said this would facilitate the emergence of the Sikhs as a powerful religio-political group and they would now be in a position to bargain in the political permutation and combination of Haryana as had been the case in Delhi after the formation of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. It was this emergence of the Sikhs as a powerful group which would weaken the bargaining power of the Badal family and hence its vociferous opposition by them. The Badals should learn lesson from the fact that only three persons went to Kaithal to protest against the convention where the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, made the announcement. “Mr. Sukhbir Badal has no moral right to oppose the formation of the separate Haryana Gurdwara panel as he had not spared even the holiest of the holy shrine, the Golden Temple, to further his commercial interests. The success of his PTC group of TV channels is due to the live telecast of gurbani by these channels from the Golden Temple over which he has a monopoly. It is precisely for this reason that the SGPC has failed to set up its own channel despite promises made by the Akali Dal in the manifestos in the last two elections to the general house of this body. The SAD president should not now be sad now and must give explanation to the Sikhs about this commercial exploitation of the Holiest Shrine for his lust for money”, Mr. Bajwa observed. He made it clear the Congress in Haryana had only accepted long pending demand of the Sikhs in that state and this could in no way be construed as a move to divide the Sikhs as already, the Delhi gurdwaras were managed by the Delhi Sikhs and Takhts at Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib by their respective boards.
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