Traffic remained disrupted on the Panchkula-Pinjore highway for several hours on Tuesday after a massive protest was held by Sikhs demanding the Haryana government to set up a Haryana Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee in the state. Police set up diversion points at many places after traffic remained blocked on the highway,and a heavy contingent of police personnel was deployed to prevent any untoward incident.
A large number of Sikhs joined the protest march that began from Nada Sahib and passed through the Mansa Devi Complex road. The Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (HSGPC),which had planned the protest,later gave the memorandum of its demands to Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda,who assured them that he would look into the matter. The HSGPC was not,however,allowed to encircle the legislative complex and five members of the committee met the CM on Tuesday seeking that their demands be met.
HSGPC state chief Jagdish Singh Jhinda said that they were forced to take out the protest after the government failed to act on its promise to set up a separate Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee in the state. He added that due to the non existence of the committee in the state,the collections of the gurdwaras were not being used in the state and instead were being used in Punjab.
Jhinda also said that the Congress had promised to set up a Prabhandak Committee once it came to power in the state. In 2005,the HSGPC had signed an agreement with the Congress to set up a separate committee for Haryana,and it was also included in the partys election manifesto. In 2006,the Haryana government had constituted a panel to look into the issue. In 2007,as many as 2.75 lakh Sikhs had submitted affidavits in favour of a separate committee, Jhinda said.
On March 15,2007,the issue was discussed in the Haryana Assembly,in which 79 legislators of 90 voted in favour of a separate committee in Haryana, he added. He also said that after the 2010 Assembly election,the Haryana government promised to constitute a separate committee. According to the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1996,Sikhs have every right to have their own committee in Haryana, Jhinda said.