MANY GURDWARAS in Bangladesh are poorly maintained and at least 31 historical gurdwaras are under illegal occupation of Hindus.
These are findings of a committee formed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) to study the condition of the gurdwaras in Bangladesh. The committee comprised Rajinder Singh Mehta, Mohan Singh Bhangi, Nirmal Singh Jhola, Satnam Singh Dhanoa and Rup Singh as its members.
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The report, submitted by the committee to the SGPC, says that only four out of the 35 historical gurdwaras in the neighbouring country have satisfactory management. The remaining gurdwaras are under partial or complete illegal possession of the Hindu population.
Many of these gurdwaras visited by the committee were found in poor conditions. With no idea of exact population of Sikhs in Bangladesh, the committee has suggested that SGPC should send routine religious jathas to maintain the gurdwaras, like it sends to Pakistan on special occasions. The committee has also pushed for sending free literature to gurdwaras in danger.
“Hindu families have been living in the gurdwaras. In some gurdwaras, only one priest has been serving and in others there is no priest. These gurdwaras could not be maintained due to the pressure of the Hindu population. Hindus have been living in these gurdwaras. The situation in these gurdwaras is serious,” said SGPC additional secretary Daljit Singh.
The committee also met the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh regarding the poor condition of gurdwaras.
Dhaka University has been constructed on the land of historical Gurdwara Nanakshahi Dhaka, built in the memory of a visit of Guru Nanak and his Muslim disciple Bhai Mardana. The committee has suggested that the Dhaka University should be asked to set up a world religion museum in the name of Guru Nanak Dev.
The committee also met the Dhaka university officials in this regard.
Captain (retd) Bhag Singh from Kolkata had formed Bangladesh Gurdwara Committee (BGC) after the 1971 war. This committee was funded by the Sikh Mission Calcutta, Takht Patna Sahib in Bihar and SGPC. BGC, however, became defunct after the death of Captain Bhag Singh in 1992.