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HSGPC continues siege of Kurukshetra gurdwara
Sunday August 3, 2014 7:58 PM, IANS

Members of the newly-constituted Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC) Sunday continued their siege of Kurukshetra's Gurdwara Chatti Patshahi on the second day of their bid to take over the Sikh shrine.

Even though there were not many people from the HSGPC side till afternoon, tension built up after 3 p.m. as some protestors tried to breach the police barrier near the gurdwara. However, police prevented them from proceeding ahead.

Heavy police deployment was seen near the gurdwara Sunday. Leaders of the HSGPC and their supporters had Saturday laid siege just 100 feet from the gurdwara, one of the state's biggest, in Kurukshetra, about 110 km from here. Those trying to take control of the shrine breached two police barriers Saturday along the route.

Members of the task force and other volunteers of the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which still controls Sikh shrines in Haryana, were inside the shrine premises, ready to resist any attempt for a forcible take over. Many people from both sides were carrying traditional weapons like swords, spears and sticks.

A high-level delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal, comprising SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, Akali Dal general secretary and former union minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and others met Haryana's new Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki at Haryana Raj Bhawan here Sunday and demanded immediate review of the Act passed by the Haryana Assembly allowing the creation of the HSGPC.

The delegation told the governor that by enacting this measure unconstitutionally, the Haryana assembly had violated the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925. They urged the governor to direct the Haryana government to stop the "illegal" HSGPC from forcible takeover of Haryana's Sikh shrines.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said Sunday that the forcible takeover of Haryana gurdwaras would not be allowed at any cost.

The HSPGC had Friday asked the SGPC to hand over records of the Haryana gurdwaras to it, but the latter categorically refused to do so.

Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the SGPC are locked in a bitter controversy with Haryana's Bhupinder Singh Hooda government over the creation of the HSGPC.

On June 11, the Haryana assembly had passed a bill under which a new committee would be set up to manage gurdwaras in the state. The Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014, got the assent of the state governor June 14.

The SGPC, the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs, which controls gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, will lose control over gurdwaras in Haryana with the new law.

The SGPC, which has a Rs.950 crore annual budget, controls 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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