Badal warns PM on Haryana Gurdwara Committee issue

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Patiala, Aug 17 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today issued a direct warning to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking him and the Congress not to ''meddle in the religious affairs of the Sikhs''.

''The attempt to set up a seprate Gurdwara Committee for Haryana was a direct interference in the religious affairs of the Sikhs, as only the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandik Committee (SGPC) has the jurisdiction of the historic Sikh shrines in the neighbouring state,'' he said while talking to mediapersons at Rajla village today.

He warned that as Jammu and Kashmir was still simmering, it would not be advisable to start another controversy. If the Central Government does not prevent the Haryana government from going ahead with its proposed move to set up a seprate Gurdwara Committee, the country would be pushed into a religious divide, he added.

The Chief Minister recalled that the Akali stalwart, the late Master Tara Singh spearheaded the movement for linguistic re-organisation of Punjab and also for safeguarding the interests of the Sikh community. He signed the historic Master Tara Singh-Nehru pact which prohibits the Central Government from taking any decision involving the religious rights of the Sikhs, without the prior consent of the SGPC.

The Chief Minister, however, regretted that the Congres's governments at the Centre had always betrayed the commitments made to the Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular forcing them to undertake long and difficult struggles to get justice.

He disclosed as this issue was a matter of concern, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had called a meeting of its core committee at Chandigarh on Tuesday. He said that SAD would bring the issue of the Haryana Gurdwara Committee before its other partners in the NDA.

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