Sikh body refuses to budge on memorial

DSGMC defiant despite NDMC notice

There would not be any change in the schedule for the foundation laying ceremony of the 1984 Sikh riots memorial in Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib complex, said Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjit Singh G K on Saturday.

He reiterated that five high priests of Sikhs will lay the foundation stone on June 12 as planned earlier. 

“We will go ahead with building the memorial as planned and Delhi government or any other authority in Delhi has no right to raise objection or interefere in the personal issues of our community,” said Singh while addressing a press conference at his office.

Singh was reacting to the objection raised by New Delhi Municipal Council on June 7 to the memorial. A notice was pasted in this regard on the gate of the gurdwara complex.

While warning that any illegal construction was not permitted inside the gurdwara complex, the notice raised objection on the three-feet-wide and four-feet-high wall constructed for the foundation stone ceremony.

Earlier on June 6, DSGMC had made a formal announcement to construct the memorial in the memory of Sikhs who were killed in the 1984 riots followed by the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi at the hands of her Sikh bodyguards. 

Since the memorial is to be built in the gurdwara complex situated just across the Parliament, DSGMC general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa clarified that there will be no violation of construction bylaws.

“We have already announced that height of the memorial will not be more than 22 feet — norms fixed in the area due to security reasons,” he said.

“Also, no additional building was being constructed in the area as the memorial with tentative covered area of 10,000 square feet will be constructed only after demolition of 15,000 square feet,” he added.

The decision to build the memorial was taken after having discussions with a 11-member committee constituted to look into the issues and gaining the approval of senior leaders of Shiromani Akali Dal — the party in control of the management committee.

“We took up the matter for approval in the executive committee of DSGMC followed by getting the nod of the general house and finally from 700 Singh Sabhas of Delhi which has a large population, including that of Hindus,” said Sirsa.

He also said that the memorial would be a symbol of peace, humanity, humility and compassion.

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