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Haryana asks Rajnath to withdraw home ministry's HSGPC letter
Saturday July 19, 2014 8:06 PM, IANS

Hardening its stand over the setting up of a new board to manage Sikh shrines in the state, the Haryana government Saturday urged union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to withdraw his ministry's letter to it, asking the state governor to withdraw assent to the bill for a new board.

In an official letter to the home minister, Haryana's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala urged him to withdraw the July 18 letter by Home Secretary Anil Goswami to the state chief secretary, asking that the governor withdraw his assent to the Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014.

"I respectfully point out that the political stand of either the Akali Dal (Badal) or any other political party/organization should never colour the judgment of Government of India in being able to decide the issue," Surjewala said in the letter.

Accusing the Punjab government of interfering in the affairs of Haryana and even trying to create a law and order situation through inflammatory statements and actions, Surjewala asked Rajnath Singh to ensure that the union home ministry sought a report from the governors of Punjab and Haryana in this regard.

Surjewala said in his letter that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had directed Punjab ministers, MPs, legislators and other leaders to enter Haryana's gurdwaras and physically resist any attempt for their takeover by the newly-created Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC).

Noting that these leaders had entered the shrines with armed Punjab Police personnel, he said that Badal and others were trying to put unwarranted pressure and playing politics over the issue of Sikh shrines in Haryana.

The letter accused Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the Akali Dal president, of issuing statements that could create a law and order situation in Haryana.

He urged Rajnath Singh to look at the issue as "home minister of the entire country" and also to direct the Punjab government not to interfere in the affairs of Haryana.

The Haryana assembly had last week passed the legislation under which a new committee would be set up to manage gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in Haryana. The bill got the assent of the Haryana governor Monday.

The Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs which controls gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, will lose control over 72 gurdwaras in Haryana under the new arrangement.

The SGPC, which has a Rs.950 crore annual budget, controls the majority of the gurdwaras in Punjab, including the holiest of all Sikh shrines 'Harmandar Sahib' (popularly known as Golden Temple) in Amritsar.


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