Former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Paramjit Singh Sarna on Monday moved the Delhi High Court seeking to stop the construction of the proposed 1984 anti-Sikh riots memorial. Sarnas petition comes just two days before the foundation stone for memorial at the Rakabganj Gurdwara is to be laid in the presence of senior NDA leaders.
In January this year,Sarna lost control of the DSGMC to the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) group,who announced the memorial last week. Senior NDA leaders,including BJP president Rajnath Singh and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj,along with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal are expected to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony.
In his writ petition before the High Court,Sarna said the construction of a memorial inside a gurdwara was against the tenets of Sikhism.
Sarnas lawyer Kulvinder Singh said: The fundamental tenets of Sikhism do not allow a memorial inside a gurdwara. Also memorials are to be dedicated to martyrs while those who died in 1984 were victims of a genocide.
According to Singh,the matter was listed for hearing on June 12 at 10.30 am. Incidentally,the DSGMCs foundation stone laying ceremony is slated to begin on the same day at 10 am.
Sarna has also filed a contempt petition against the present DSGMC administration.
The DSGMC had earlier given the High Court an undertaking that they will not start any construction within the Rakabganj Gurdwara without the permission of authorities like the NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Council) and the DDA (Delhi Development Authority). But the present administration has already begun construction,which amounts to contempt of court, Singh said.
Speaking to Newsline,Sarna said the DSGMC could build the memorial wherever they wanted to,but not within a gurdwara.
Before we were defeated in the DSGMC elections,we were discussing with the Delhi government the possibility of land allotment for such a memorial. If not,we could have purchased land, Sarna said.
He added that the SAD-ruled DSGMC had planned the memorial to suit their political ends.
DSGMC general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa said Sarna was allied with the Congress and was acting on the partys behalf. In all their years in power they did nothing,now they are politicising this issue in an election year, Sirsa said.
Govt reaches out to Sikhs in Peeragarhi camp,to pay power dues of Rs 6.5 crore
As part of governments bid to reach out to the Sikh community,the Delhi Cabinet on Monday agreed to pay over Rs 6.5 crore in electricity dues for residents of the Peeragarhi Relief Camp,set up for migrants from Punjab in 1984.
The decision to pay the dues was approved in a meeting of the Delhi Cabinet that was chaired by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
The Cabinet has decided to pay accumulated pending electricity dues amounting to Rs 6.57 crore upto September 2012 as a one-time measure. Further payment of electricity charges will be borne by the households themselves, Dikshit said.
She said there would be no liability on the district administration under the Department of Revenue on this issue.
In September last year,the Delhi government had decided not to pay any electricity bills on behalf of families in the Peeragarhi Relief Camp and power distribution companies had disconnected the camps power supply.
The government had then claimed that original residents of the camp had sold off their homes and the camp had residents who did not merit free electricity.
While residents of the camp were given individual electricity connections,the government had agreed to pay all electricity bills through the Revenue Department until 2010.
A senior BJP leader said the government had decided to retract their earlier position to reach out to members of the Sikh community just months before the Assembly elections.
The Congress possibly believes that they are losing support within the Sikh community particularly after losing control of the DSGMC in January. The proposed memorial to victims of the 1984 riots has also found traction within the community,which has forced the government to act, he said.