Haryana gurdwara panel chief Daduwal quits as Takht Damdama Sahib parallel jathedar
BATHINDA : The newly elected president of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (ad hoc), or HSGMC, Baljit Singh Daduwal said on Monday that he was quitting as the ‘parallel’ jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib.
The radical Sikh preacher made the announcement after paying obeisance at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda.
Daduwal informed Hindustan Times over the phone that the HSGMC would seek help from the Centre and the governments of Haryana and Punjab to fight the case in Supreme Court on taking over management of about 55 historic gurdwaras in Haryana.
A delegation will soon meet union home minister Amit Shah and the Haryana and Punjab chief ministers, he said.
“I have decided to focus on... socio-religious affairs while heading the HSGMC. Now it is up to the Sarbat Khalsa (congregation) to hand over the service of the Takht Damdama Sahib to another individual accepted by the panthic bodies,” Daduwal added.
“Our activities will not be limited to propagate Sikhism, but the Haryana panel will work against drugs and to provide education and training at institutes for competitive examinations. Activities of HSGMC will be extended beyond Haryana,” he said.
The 45-year-old Sikh from the Damdami Taksal seminary, once headed by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, was among people appointed as ‘parallel’ jathedars by the Sarbat Khalsa held by Sikh radicals in Amritsar in November 2015, where the “removal” of those appointed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) was also announced.
A vocal opponent of Akali patriarch Parkash Singh Badal, Daduwal was one of the first campaigners to protest against the incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and firing on Sikh protesters in Faridkot district in 2015. “No panthic organisation or individual asked me to step down as jathedar but it is my personal decision. After being elected as the first president of HSGMC on August 13, I had made my mind to work for the independent Sikh Haryana gurdwara panel that was formed after a long struggle,” he added.
HSGMC has control over five historic shrines in Haryana.
About 55 other prominent shrines in Haryana are still being managed by the SGPC though a petition had been filed in the apex court against the decision of the former Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government for formation of an independent panel to manage Sikh shrines.
As of now there’s status quo on the management of Haryana gurdwaras.
“Sikhs of Haryana fought a religious battle against the SGPC that was under the control of Parkash Singh Badal and his family. We are now an elected body representing panth and will pursue the legal battle for independence of shrines,” he added.
Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Baljit Singh Daduwal (second from right) at Talwandi Sabo gurdwara in Bathinda on Monday.