Haryana gur­d­wara panel chief Daduwal quits as Takht Dam­dama Sahib par­al­lel jathedar

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - News - Vishal Joshi

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.

HT PHOTO

Haryana Sikh Gur­d­wara Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee pres­i­dent Baljit Singh Daduwal (sec­ond from right) at Tal­wandi Sabo gur­d­wara in Bathinda on Mon­day.

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