Tension escalated in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district on Saturday when hundreds of supporters of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management (adhoc) Committee (HSGMC) marched towards the Chathi Patshahi Gurdwara in the city, in an attempt to take charge of the kar-seva in the Sikh shrine. They were however stopped by the state police before they could reach the gurdwara, averting the possibility of clashes between them and members of the SGPC task force already deployed in the gurdwara.
Earlier in the day, the HSGMC held its general house meeting in which it was decided that 11 of its members would take charge of the kar-seva in the gurdwara at Kurukshetra. Once the meeting ended, hundreds of Sikhs from across Haryana who had gathered in the city, began marching towards the gurdwara.
With the district administration apprehending clashes between the SGPC and the HSGMC, there was heavy police deployment around the gurdwara. HSGMC vice president, Didar Singh Nalvi, alleged that while they were stopped from reaching the Sikh shrine, police let Punjab Akali leader Prem Singh Chandumajra pass through the barricades and enter the gurdwara with 50 of his men.
“We have been asked by the state government not to take law in our hands. But then the state police force should have stopped intruders like Chandumajra from entering the Gurdwara. There are already armed members of the task force occupying the gurdwara and nobody stops them. We strongly protest against the biased behaviour of our state police force,” Nalvi told The Indian Express.
The HSGMC had directed the managements of Sikh shrines across Haryana to submit their financial records at the committee’s head office in Kaithal by 6 pm on Saturday. With the SGPC, Amritsar, intervening however, none of the gurdwaras’ staff honoured the HSGMC order. “Those managing the Sikh shrines across Haryana are SGPC employees and refuse to recognise us. Obviously they are under pressure from the armed members of SGPC task force camping in these gurdwaras. In such a scenario, we shall see how we take over the gurdwaras. Today, we merely tried managing the kar-seva and there has been so much of noise over it,” Nalvi added.
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The HSGMC had also written to various banks asking them not to honour cheques issued by SGPC regarding Sikh shrines in Haryana. The banks are however yet to respond.
“What will the banks do? I believe they will not acknowledge our letters till such letters are annexed with court orders restraining them from honouring SGPC cheques. We are also exploring legal options to tackle this subject”, said HSGMC member Jagdish Singh Jhinda.
With tension brewing in Kurukshetra, the state police force is not taking any chances. Additional forces have been summoned from neighbouring districts to avert any clashes between Sikhs from Punjab and Haryana. “This is the religious issue of the Sikh community members. As far as our job is concerned, we have stopped members of HSGMC from entering the gurdwara merely to avoid any untoward incident. Nobody will be allowed to disrupt law and order,” a senior Haryana police officer said.