– Giani Harpreet Singh, Akal Takht Jathedar, Bats for Amendment of Sikh Gurdwaras Act

Giani Harpreet Singh, acting Jathedar of Akal Takht, said the Sikh Gurdwara Act was framed in 1925 and no amendments have been incorporated in it since then.

Ramlal Kondal

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 30 January 2019. Giani Harpreet Singh, the acting Jathedar of the Akal Takht, has mooted changes in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925. “It’s time the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 gets amended for the better future of the Sikh community,” Harpreet Singh told News 18 on Wednesday.

“The Indian Constitution came into force in 1950, and the Parliament has amended it many a times. Similarly, the Gurdwara Act was framed in 1925 and similar amendments should have been incorporated in it after consulting various Sikh scholars and intellectuals.

But it hasn’t happened till now,” pointed out Harpreet Singh, who also serves as the Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, another Sikh temporal seat situated at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda, Punjab.

“It is necessary for the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to emerge as an even larger and better organisation of the Sikhs on a global stage,” he added.

A day earlier, similar sentiment echoed at the one-day workshop in Ludhiana which was organised by the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle. Apart from Harpreet Singh, the workshop was attended by eminent Sikh scholars, including Sardara Singh Johal, Dr S P Singh, Dr Khem Singh Gill, Dr Balkar Singh and Dr (Lt. Col.) G P I Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Adesh University, Bathinda.

The workshop had Sikh intellectuals discussing topics such as ‘how to maintain the importance, dignity and reverence of the Akal Takht’ and ‘agendas of the SGPC in the context of Sikh diaspora and globalisation’.

Asked if he would take up the suggestions that came up during the workshop with the Singh Sahibaans or the SGPC president, Harpreet Singh responded in the negative, saying, “As of now only ideas have been exchanged”.

“These are my personal thoughts and I have merely put these before the scholars,” added Harpreet Singh who is presently pursuing PhD from department of religious studies, Punjabi University.

The Gurdwara Act, passed way back in 1925, paved way for the formation of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee with the aim of reformation of Sikh religious places. The SGPC today controls nearly 200 historic shrines in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The gurdwaras in Delhi are administered by Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee. – 484th Birthday Celebrations: 200 hotel rooms to be provided free of cost to pilgrims

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 13 October 2018. Keeping in view the upcoming 484th birth anniversary of fourth Sikh master Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji, the SGPC underwent a meeting with the owners of hotels situated in the vicinity of Sri Harmandr Sahib on October 12.

SGPC secretary Dr. Roop Singh took up the issue of accommodation deficiency for the pilgrims coming to pay obeisance at sanctum sanctorum from distant areas.

Understanding the situation, the hotel owners promised to reserve 200 rooms for providing free of cost accommodation to devotees. The Hotel owners have also promised to offer rooms at discounted rates to the pilgrims.

Sharing the development with Sikh24, Dr Roop Singh informed that the SGPC is making robust arrangements for providing luxurious pilgrimage to devotees this year. He added that the school and college campuses will also be used to provide accommodation to devotees arriving in the holy city on this auspicious eve.

Dr. Roop Singh further informed that the SGPC will celebrate the birthday of Guru Ram Dass Ji with a focus on creating social awareness.

The Tribune – Sikh leaders push for clemency to Rajoana

Akali Dal delegation seeks day-to-day trial of 1984 riot cases

Tribune News Service

New Delhi – India, 14 August 2018. A SAD delegation led by its president Sukhbir Singh Badal met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi on Tuesday. The delegation’s meeting with the Home Minister lasted for about an hour in his North Block office.

The Home Minister assured the delegation that the government was examining issues raised before it by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

They include constituting a special court for day-to-day trial of 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases and commuting death sentence of terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana to life sentence. He has been convicted in former Punjab CM Beant Singh assassination case.

The delegation comprised of Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur, SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal, DSGMC chief Manjit Singh (GK), MPs Naresh Gujral and Balwinder Singh Bhunder, and former MP Tarlochan Singh.

The meeting is a follow up to earlier two meetings of SAD delegation with Singh in the past one month. The Home Minister had assured to hold a joint meeting of Sikh leaders and Home Ministry officials around Independence Day with regard to issues pertaining the community.

The delegation batted for grant of citizenship to all Hindus and Sikhs who were forced to leave Afghanistan since 1989. It drew a distinction between illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Assam and those from Afghanistan who were forced to leave on ground of religious persecution.

Also, they sought free passage for devotees from Dera Baba Nanak located on the Indian side to the historical Gurdwara Kartarpur in Pakistan in view of the upcoming 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.

It sought Centre’s intervention for granting minority status to Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir. It also demanded rescinding of the amendment by the Chandigarh administration, which has made it mandatory even for Sikh women wearing turban or headgear to use helmets while riding a two-wheeler and ensuring security of Sikhs in Sikkim. – Feels like Sikhs are not enjoying freedom in India, says Giani Gurbachan Singh

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 10 August 2018. Upset over the rising attacks on Sikhs in India, the SGPC appointed Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh today said that it seems like the Sikhs are not enjoying freedom in India.

Citing the recent incidents of subjecting the Sikhs to religious discrimination, he added that the Sikhs are being tortured in all of India.

“Sikhs are being forced to evict from their houses, remove their articles of religious faith to appear in the examinations and assaulted by the Police in the broad day light” said Giani Gurbachan Singh while adding that the circumstances are not favorable for Sikhs in India.

Taking on the Indian government for not making appropriate arrangements to ensure security of the Sikhs in India, Giani Gurbachan Singh said that India is a multi-religion country and India ought to ensure safety of all the communities residing in India so that no Sikh in this country would have to endure discrimination due to his / her religion.

He said that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and other Sikh bodies should also spread awareness on the Sikhism through literature and other means such as internet and electronic media.

The Tribune – Soon, Golden Temple kitchen to run on biogas

Rs 2-crore plant to be set up near Sri Guru Ram Dass Langar Hall

G S Paul, Tribune News Service

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 01 August 2018. The SGPC will set up a biogas plant at the Golden Temple kitchen, which offers langar (community food) to at least 60,000 devotees daily.

This move will serve dual purpose. It will not only be a source of continuous economical fuel to ignite the round-the-clock kitchen of the shrine, but will also make optimum use of tonnes of leftover vegetable wastage.

The SGPC has roped in the Amritsar Municipal Corporation to set up the plant. Costing around Rs 2 crore, the biogas plant is being set up in collaboration with HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd) under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) head.

The SGPC has already earmarked the plot located near Sri Guru Ram Dass Langar Hall, which is undergoing expansion. At present, the langar is being prepared on LPG-run hobs and partially by firewood. Once the biogas plant is installed, the officials viewed that there would be negligible necessity of firewood, which caused pollution.

The use of LPG cylinders, which are charged on commercial rates, too, would be minimised. On an average, 90 LPG cylinders are used daily to prepare langar. The figure increases to 125 cylinders on special occasions like Diwali, Gurpurbs, Sangrandh, etc.

Looking at the high cost of LPG cylinders on commercial rate, the SGPC’s repeated pleas for subsidy on them was never heard.

The gurdwaras used to get subsidised LPG cylinders at the rate of Rs 422 each and after the withdrawal of the subsidy, the cylinder cost escalated to Rs 1,086 each.

About this smart kitchen concept, the SGPC’s additional secretary Diljit Singh Bedi said nearly four tonne of wastage that was generated on an average daily, would be enough to ignite the Golden Temple kitchen.

“It was decided in the last executive body meeting to set up a biogas plant in the Golden Temple kitchen. We have asked the MC to submit the project report,” he said.

MC Commissioner Sonali Giri said an MoU was signed with the HPCL Bio Fuels and once the official formalities with the SGPC were furnished, it would take just four months to set up infrastructure for the biogas plant.

“We need to make provision for underground refuse storage bins and bio compactors. This will be followed by the process through which the waste has to be fed to the biogas plant to ignite fire,” she said.