Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, the apex religious body of Sikhs, today strongly condemned Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for announcing a separate SGPC for his state and said the move was Congress' "nefarious design to weaken" the community.
Reacting to Hooda announcing a separate panel to manage the affairs of Gurudwaras in Haryana, which are presently under the control of the Amritsar-based body, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said, "They have tried to directly challenge the Akal Takht - the supreme temporal body of the community - and take it head-on."
"They have tried to take on the Akal Takht and break away from it," Makkar said and added that SGPC has petitioned Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to restrain Haryana government from proceeding further with their "nefarious designs".
The SGPC chief said that they will hold protests against Haryana's move. "It is a step to weaken the SGPC," he said.
Makkar said the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 which governs the SGPC, was an act of Parliament and hence, the Haryana government could not tinker with it.
He said that the SGPC came into existence following the 1925 Gurdwara Act after years of struggle and sacrifice by thousands of people against the British ploy to divide the community.
"Now, we cannot allow this to happen. The SGPC is like Sikh Parliament. We cannot tolerate any move to split it. The bifurcation will be an insult to thousands of people who laid down their lives," he said and threatened the move court against Haryana's move.
Asked that the demand for separate panel had once again been raised at the Sikh Sammelan at Kaithal today, where Hooda made the announcement, Makkar said, "This was not a Sikh sammelan. But this was a function organised by Congress. This was Hooda's function. This is just an election stunt by the Congress (Haryana goes to polls in October).
"The Sikhs of Haryana have not forgiven Congress for the 1984 riots, so how can they support them on separate SGPC.
This is just a handful of so-called Sikh leaders who are dancing to their tunes," he said.