NEW DELHI— Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Badal, and President of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), on Thursday submitted a memorandum to Union Minister Rajnath Singh,, urging him to stop the Haryana Government from meddling in affairs related to historical Sikh Gurdwaras.
The delegation alleged that the Congress Government in Haryana was making deliberate attempts to set up a parallel body to the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) that was tantamount to interfering in Sikh religious affairs.
A member of the delegation said, “Despite its claims of being a secular party, the Congress, during the last Assembly elections, chose to mention this issue in its manifesto,” said the Akali leaders. They said during the last SGPC elections, the “Congress-sponsored elements made a separate Gurdwara committee for Haryana their main poll plank and lost all 11 seats to SAD (B) nominees. Yet they have not abandoned the move, which could threaten [the] peace.
The memorandum claimed that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government had also opposed this move and had dissuaded the Haryana Chief Minister from pursuing it.
A separate memorandum was also submitted to Rajanth Singh in which, the delegation urged the Indian government to to settle the issue of voting rights of so-called Sehajdharis. For this, it advised the government to introduce a legislation. The Sehajdharis were given the right to vote through an amendment in the Gurdwara Act in 1944 . On November 30, 2000, March 30, 2001, and again on March 30, 2002, the SGPC passed resolutions against this.
The SAD (B) urged the Modi Government to introduce a legislation in Parliament to amend the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, so that the so-called Sehajdharis are denied [their] voting rights. They want the amendment to be enforced retrospectively from October 8, 2003.
The Vajpayee-led Indian Government issued a notification on October 8, 2003, “deleting the exception” awarded to the “Sehajdharis”. But the notification was set aside by the High Court on December 20, 2011, on the ground that such an amendment could not be brought about by a notification.