Minister Rajnath Singh

SGPC row: Haryana govt asks Centre to withdraw its letter

Chandigarh:  The Haryana government today asked Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to “forthwith withdraw” the letter asking Governor to withdraw his assent to the Bill for creation of a separate SGPC for the state.

Giving example of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, which manages affairs of the Sikh shrines in the national capital “with no say of Amritsar SGPC in it”, the state government in a letter to the Centre also asked it to direct the Punjab government not to interfere into affairs of Haryana.

Yesterday, Union Home Ministry wrote to the Haryana Chief Secretary stating legislature of Haryana had no competence to pass the Haryana Sikh Gurudwara (Management) Bill 2014 and assent granted by Governor should be withdrawn.

Haryana Cabinet Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala in the letter to the Union minister took exception to the letter and asked him to “forthwith withdraw” it.

The letter, a copy of which is with PTI here, says “assertions (in the communication of the Centre yesterday to Haryana Chief Secretary S C Chaudhary) alleging incompetence of Haryana legislature to enact law within its territorial jurisdiction is an insult to 2.5 crore people of the state and their elected legislators.” “The stance of the Centre is a total negation of right of legislature of Haryana flowing from Articles 245 and 246 of the Constitution,” the letter said.

He made reference of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee saying “Parliament under constitution has enacted a separate Sikh Gurudwara Act on December 30, 1971 pursuant to which Amritsar SGPC has no say or control over the Sikh gurudwaras in Delhi.” Takht Hazur Sahib, Nanded at Maharashtra, Takht Patna Sahib Bihar (two of top five temporal seats of Sikhs) are not governed by SGPC Amritsar, he said.

“Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his party is putting unwarranted pressure and playing politics on this issue of self determination and governance of Sikh religious shrines in Haryana by Sikh community of Haryana,” he said.

The legislature of Haryana has exercised its legislative power under Constitution to ensure grant of right of self governance, self determination and service of Gurdwaras, Surjewala said.

“To negate this right of Sikhs and Punjabi communities of Haryana is to question the honour of every Haryanvi. This is neither acceptable nor warranted,” the letter says.

The Bill was enacted in accordance with provisions of Section 72 of the Punjab Re-Organisation Act 1966 vide which states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Chandigarh were carved out as separate identities, Surjewala said.

“The successor state Haryana is well within its right to constitute a separate body through an Act for management of Sikh religious shrines within its own territorial jurisdiction,” he said.

Surjewala said that “to force the dictate of Amritsar SGPC over the management and control of Sikh religious shrines of Haryana to the exclusion of Sikh community of Haryana is neither morally correct nor legally tenable or constitutionally permissible”.

In his letter, Surjewala also brought to the notice of the Centre “alarming fact” that Badal had drafted his ministerial colleagues, MPs, MLAs, elected Amritsar based SGPC members and other party leaders to Sikh shrines in Haryana to “resist” HSGPC from taking control over these institutions.

“Many such leaders have entered various Sikh shrines of Haryana with armed police personnel of Punjab,” he said.

Source: The Tribune


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