Haryana House passes bill for separate SGPC

Haryana House passes bill for separate SGPC

Haryana Assembly on Friday passed a bill paving the way for the formation of a separate body to manage affairs of gurdwaras in the state even as the main opposition parties INLD and the BJP staged a walkout over the issue.

The bill moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Randeep Surjewala was passed with a voice vote in the absence of the Indian National Lok Dal and BJP members, who had earlier staged a walkout opposing the legislation, claiming that the move was Congress’ ‘conspiracy’ to ‘divide’ the community.

The government in Haryana passed the bill ignoring opposition of the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the Shiromani Akali Dal and other groups.

Congress had promised the formation of separate SGPC in its poll manifesto in 2005, but the issue remained unsettled in its first term and got carried over to Hooda’s second term. But with Assembly elections due in Haryana in October this year, the issue was speeded up.

Hooda, Surjewala and other treasury benches members described the bill as ‘historic’ one which was long overdue as the Sikhs of Haryana had been ‘fighting’ to have right over management of their gurudwaras.

Heated arguments erupted between the ruling and opposition benches during the discussion on the Bill with the latter dubbing it as a ‘ploy’ to garner votes ahead of the polls.

Against bill

“Don’t divide the Sikhs on religious lines. They have a long history of sacrifice and the Sikhs of Haryana have not favoured this. This Bill should be taken back,” INLD’s State unit President Ashok Arora said, finding full support from his party MLAs including senior leaders Abhay Singh Chautala and Ramphal Majra.

BJP’s senior leader Anil Vij said that the ruling party was ‘rushing through’ and in a ‘hurry’ to pass the 46-page Bill and had not given enough time to the Opposition to study and go through the contents of the important legislation, which was connected to the future of the Sikh community in the State.

However, Hooda and Finance Minister Harmohinder Singh Chattha, who prepared the report which favoured the separate body, told the House that there was no politics being behind the move as the decision regarding it was taken considering sentiments and aspirations of the Sikhs of Haryana.

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