'Akalis have not replied to Gurdwara Act'

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Chandigarh, Nov 16: Punjab Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Sunday, Nov 16 said that the Akalis led by Prakash Singh Badal had abandoned the Panthic agenda and important demands related to the Sikh community.

In this context he refered to failure of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to send its comments to the central government on a All India Gurdwara Act, a demand that has often been made by the Akalis and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandik Commitee (SGPC). The draft of the Act was received by the Punjab government in 1999 when Mr Badal was the chief minister.

Addressing mediapersons here, Mr Khaira said that enactment of an All India Gurudwara Act had been one of the major demands of the Akali's. It was incorporated in the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, it figured in all important dialogues that the Akali's had with representatives of the Central Government, he added.

This demand had always been part of all important documents or charter of demands whenever given to the central government, he pointed out. Mr Badal cannot claim to have achieved any meaningful demand of the Sikhs or of Punjab, he added.

" If the Akali's were genuinely serious about the formation of an All India Gurudwara Act, why Mr Badal did not send comments on the draft during his previous regime and why the proposal continues to gather dust even today?", he questioned. T Mr Khaira further claimed that there was complete disillusionment and disenchantment in the minds of Sikhs about the politicised malfunctioning of the SGPC. The SGPC wais facing rampant corruption, favoritism, nepotism and extreme political interference, he claimed.

The appointment and removal of various Jathedar's of Akal Takht conducted in the recent past had cast a shadow of doubt in the minds of Sikhs besides lowering the image of the Jathedar's, the Congress leader stated.

"There is an urgent need to depoliticise the sacred body of SGPC which has been achieved through a historic struggle by our elders", he advised.

Therefore in order to restore the confidence of the Sikhs there was a dire need to hand over the reigns of the SGPC to renowned Sikhs from various fields, he added.


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