Amritsar, May 23
Days after Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann raised questions over extending rights to telecast ‘gurbani’ at the Golden Temple exclusively to one TV channel, SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami Tuesday said open tenders will soon be called for the broadcast of the sacred hymn.
Dhami further said a five-member committee, which will decide the terms and conditions of the telecast, has been formed.
CM Mann on Monday had lashed out at the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief for extending exclusive rights to telecast ‘gurbani’ only to only one TV channel and had offered to pay all expenses for its broadcast across channels free of cost.
Dhami on Tuesday said an unnecessary controversy was being deliberately created by some people regarding the ‘gurbani’ broadcast and “it is sad that chief minister Bhagwant Singh Mann is also a participant in it”.
In a statement, the SGPC chief said as per the rules, since 1998, the Committee had given the rights to broadcast ‘gurbani’ from Harmandar Sahib to various channels, under which the current agreement with G-Next Media Private Limited (PTC Channel) is up to July 2023.
This last agreement was signed on July 24, 2012, for 11 years and now, after its expiration, a fresh process will be carried forward, it said.
Dhami also said under the current agreement, G-Next Media had decided to give Rs 1 crore annually, with an annual hike of 10 per cent, to the education fund of SGPC, the due amount has been deposited so far.
He said ‘maryada’ (conduct) is mandatory for broadcasting ‘gurbani’, due to which everyone cannot be given the freedom to broadcast it.
“Whoever gets the right to broadcast gurbani will have to respect the religious sentiments of the ‘Sangat’, besides following the norms and rules laid by the SGPC,” Dhami said.
“Worldwide broadcasting of ‘gurbani’ should also be ensured. On the other hand, if open broadcast of ‘gurbani’ is allowed, many cases will arise against the ‘maryada’, especially the controversy regarding advertising,” he added.
He said the SGPC is very serious about ‘gurbani’ telecast, while the CM Mann is “doing politics on this subject”.
“Bhagwant Mann sometimes asks the ‘Sangat’ to stop putting money in ‘Golaks’ (offering boxes at Gurdwaras) and tries to create confusion regarding the issue of ‘gurbani’ broadcast. It does not suit the person holding the responsible position of the chief minister,” Dhami said.
In response to Mann’s comments about him, the SGPC president asked, “Can the chief minister tell that he is not a parrot of Delhi?”
Mann on Monday had accused Dhami of “acting like a puppet in the hands of the Badal family.”
Dhami said that Mann does not know the history of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the SGPC.
Reminding Mann about the history, the SGPC president said Master Tara Singh remained president of the SAD as well as the SGPC. Moreover, Mohan Singh Nagoke and Mohan Singh Tur simultaneously remained Presidents of SAD as well as Jathedars of the Akal Takht.
“The chief minister is making absurd statements because he lacks knowledge about the Sikh principles of ‘Miri Piri’ (Sikh doctrine of a close relationship between devotion and power),” said Dhami.
The SGPC president advised the chief minister to “pay attention” to the government’s work and “speak within his limitations”.
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