Amritsar, March 9
The SGPC has raised the issues of “Bandi Singhs” and the “illegal occupation” of Haryana Sikh shrines and institutions by the ad hoc Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) with the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, during her visit to Amritsar.
The SGPC has been demanding the release of the Sikh prisoners through democratic means for a long time, Harjinder Singh Dhami said in the memorandum.
The SGPC has shortlisted a total of 21 Bandi Singhs, but it submitted to the President the names of nine convicts who had been behind the bars from 17 to 32 years.
“We demand from you to take cognisance of this important issue of release of Sikh prisoners and give necessary directions to the Government of India and the state governments concerned for their release….. We feel that by not releasing them, they are being discriminated against and their human rights are being violated grossly in the world’s largest democracy,” Dhami wrote to the President.
Another memorandum pertained to the setting up of a separate HSGMC for management of affairs of gurdwaras in Haryana.
The SGPC said that in February 2022, using police force, the Haryana government-nominated ad hoc HSGMC took possession of eight historic gurdwaras in the state, which are still notified under the management of SGPC under Section 85 of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925.
“Nowhere, in its order, the Supreme Court gave liberty to the Haryana Government to forcibly take over the management of the gurdwaras of the state under SGPC management…. we request you to intervene in this matter and instruct the Centre to ensure that the managements of the gurdwaras of the state, which are still notified under the Sikh Gurdwaras Act are returned to the SGPC besides repealing the HSGMC Act,” read the memorandum.
In the visitors’ book at the Golden Temple, the President wrote, “I am happy to visit and pay obeisance at the holy temple. This holy place with its beautiful architecture and the divine serenity around it evokes feelings of calmness and harmony. I prayed for peace, progress and prosperity of the country. It was great to see the volunteers working tirelessly in the spirit of service and devotion. May the teachings of Sikh Gurus continue to inspire us to practice brotherhood and unity.
Later, she visited the Jallianwala Bagh and paid homage to the victims of the 1919 massacre. She penned down her experience in the visitors’ book in Hindi. She also paid obeisance at the Durgiana Mandir where she was received by Durgiana Committee members, led by Luxmi Kanta Chawla. This was followed by her visit to the Bhagwan Valmiki Ram Tirath Sthal before she returned in the evening.
#Droupadi Murmu #Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee HSGMC #SGPC #Sikhs
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