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Badal-Sarna factions clash at Delhi: Akal Takhat Jathedar constitute probe committee

November 18, 2012 | By

Delhi/Ludhiana, India/Punjab (November 18, 2012): It is learnt that the Akal Takhat Sahib Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh has set up a three-member committee to probe the incident of bloody clash between Sarna and Badal factions of Shiromani Akali Dal at Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib on November 15, 2012 in Delhi.

It is notable that Shiromani Akali Dal (Sarna), led by Paramjeet Singh Sarna is in favour of a proposed amendment in “Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Act, 1971”, a statute under which Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) was constituted. Whereas Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) is against the proposed amendment.

Clash between Badal and Sarna faction of SAD at Gurudwara Rakabganj Sahib, Delhi (November 15, 2012)

On November 15, 2012 Sarna faction was holding a meeting to discuss the proposed amendment at Gurudwara Rakabganj Sahib. According to reports the arguments surrounding the meeting and proposed amendment led to violent clash between the two groups.

As the stones were hurled by both side on each others, and lathis and swords were freely used during the attack, many people sustained injuries and religious code of conduct was also violated with in the sacred premises. Moreover, this incident attainted the Sikh globally.

According to information the committee constituted by Giani Gurbachan Singh comprises former secretary of Dharam Parchar Committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) Waryam Singh; member of Akal Takhat Sahib Advisory Committee Inderjit Singh Gogoani and Head of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Research Centre at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Balwant Singh.

The committee has been directed to submit its report by November 22.

Badal blamed Delhi Government for interfering in religious matters of Sikhs

It is also learnt that in a letter to Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, the Parkash Singh Badal has blamed the Delhi Government of interference in religious matters of Sikhs.

He sought the Centre’s intervention to prevent the Delhi Government from tabling before the Delhi assembly the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara (Amendment) Bill which proposes to make way for direct election of the DSGMC president.

In his letter, Badal has pointed out that this amendment Bill violates the letter and spirit of the agreement reached between former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Master Tara Singh, known as the Nehru-Tara Singh Pact, “which specifically stated the commitment of the government of India not to take any steps with regard to the affairs of the Sikh community without consultation with and consent of the representatives of the Sikh community through the apex body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) at Amritsar. Also, there is no provision for a direct election of a president in any of the elected constitutional bodies in the country right from the office of the president of India, prime minister and municipalities,” the letter states.

Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit dares Parkash Singh Badal to ‘leash her’

According to Times of India (TOI) the face-off between Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit over the management of Delhi Gurdwara affairs escalated on Saturday (November 18, 2012), with the latter daring Badal to ‘try leashing her’ for her government’s decision to amend the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act 1971 to allow direct election to the post of president.

A furious Badal had on Friday (November 16, 2012) called up and shot off missives to PM Manmohan Singh and Delhi LG Tejendra Khanna, seeking a ‘leash on Dikshit-led Delhi government’ and action against those who had attacked the SAD(B) leaders and workers at Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib on Thursday (November 15, 2012), TOI report added.

“Put me on leash if you want Mr Badal. The Cabinet has already cleared the amendment. It will be sent to the ministry of home affairs and I will personally make sure that the Act is ready by December. There shouldn’t be any uncertainty and ambiguity on this” Delhi CM is reported to have said.

A battle for control over resources

The general view among the Sikh Sangat is that both groups/factions, Sarna and Badal, have indulged themselves into race for power-lust and control over resources of Gurudwara Sahibs.

“This is race/battle has degraded the standards of politics and the concept of ‘Sewa’ (Service) seems to be totally missing on both sides” a Sikh thinker commented on the situation.

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