NANDED, Maharashtra, India—Sikhs based in Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib, Nanded, Maharashtra, staged a protest Wednesday against the demand to enact the All India Sikh Gurdwara Act that the Shiromani Akali Dal (B) President, and Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Badal, recently sought when approaching Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India. The protesters organized the demonstration peacefully.
Addressing the demonstrators, advocate Madan Mohan Singh said the SAD (B) began to take such measures when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power at the Center. Citing a reference to the June 6, 2014 clash which broke out at Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) Complex, he lashed out at the SAD (B), saying that those who could not handle the environment at Sri Akal Takht Sahib were dreaming that they could control of all the historical Gurdwaras in the country. He alleged while apostasy is on the rise in Punjab where the SAD (B) is a ruling party and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is also under BJP control, that Sikhi is spreading in and around Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib.
Baba Balwinder Singh also opposed the proposed Act harshly. He said the move would further create rifts among the Sikhs. “The historical Gurdwaras in the other parts of the country should be allowed to manage their own affairs,” he added.
Previously, Giani Kulwant Singh, appointed Jathedar of Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib, had stated that the Sikh community in Maharashtra was against the enactment of any such Act.
The issue has been ignited by the meeting held recently between Parkash Badal and Narendera Modi during which Badal had discussed the All India Gurdwara Act among other matters. The Punjab Chief Minister expressed resentment at the Haryana Government’s move to set up a separate Gurdwara parbandhak committee, terming it as “dangerous.” He urged Modi, expressing the sentiment that Parliament should enact a legislation to ensure SGPC supremacy in areas that come under the jurisdiction of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.
Reacting over the efforts made by SAD (B) in this direction, Jathedar Kulwant Singh said, “We will oppose the move tooth and nail. The SAD (B) move is aimed at bringing all Gurdwaras in the country under the control of the SGPC, but we will not allow it.”