Giani Harpreet Singh, chief priest of the Akal Takht — the highest Sikh temporal seat — on Tuesday said the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) was presently facing similar challenges like it did in 1984.
“The Sikh body is being targeted by the authorities because they feel that the SGPC is like a state within a state. Even the present Central government is not sympathetic to the Sikhs,” Mr. Singh said, adding, “The Indian State does not like this independent nature”.
Mr. Singh was addressing a religious function to commemorate the first centenary of the SGPC in Amritsar.
He said the Sikhs have always faced challenges since Independence, which continue to this day.
The chief priest said in 1984 the then Congress government wanted to break the SGPC, but thanks to the then SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who did not let the conspiracy succeed. Mr. Singh urged the ‘sangat’ to be aware of those trying to destabilise the “Panth” (Sikh religion) from within.
At the function, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said there was an urgent need to ensure and safeguard “security, equality and dignity” of the minority communities. He called for more concrete and credible steps to stop insecurity and alienation in the minds of the minorities.
Mr. Badal cautioned that ‘mischievous elements’ were again attempting to undermine the unique, separate and sovereign religious identity of the Sikhs.
“The Khalsa Panth takes deep pride in its unique separate religious identity. The Khalsa never interferes in the religious affairs of others but nor does it tolerate interference in its own religious affairs,” he said.
Badal flays Congress
Mr. Badal hit out at the Congress party and described it as “the worst enemy of the Sikhs.”
Describing the SGPC as a unique achievement and a mini-religious parliament of the Sikhs, Mr. Badal said that Sikhism is the only religion in the world which runs its religious affairs democratically.