– 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.

Financial Express – Massive relief to Gurdwaras! Modi government waives GST on langar items

In a massive relief to Gurdwaras, the Narendra Modi government has decided to waive Goods and Services Tax on langar items on Thursday by providing financial assistance under ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’.

New Delhi – India, 01 June 2018. In a massive relief to Gurdwaras, the Narendra Modi government has decided to waive Goods and Services Tax on langar items on Thursday by providing financial assistance under ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’.

Under the plan, the central government has a financial outlay of Rs 325 crore through which the Central GST and central government’s share of Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST) on the purchase of items by “charitable institutions for distributing free food to the public” will be re-reimbursed, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement.

It was earlier reported that the Gurdwaras, popular for running community kitchen known as the “langar”, were feeling the pinch of the GST regime. At the Golden Temple complex, the Shromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee claimed to have paid nearly Rs 2 crore as GST, IANS reported in February.

“Heartfelt gratitude to PM Narendra Modi Ji for respecting Sikh sentiments by launching Seva Bhoj Yojna to refund CGST and IGST on Langar served in Gurudwaras and all other religious/charitable institutions,” Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal tweeted early on Friday.

The SGPC, which manages gurdwaras, or Sikh shrines, across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh had written to the Narendra Modi government seeking exemption on the purchase of raw materials used for langars. Gurdwaras across the country serve free food to about 10 million people on a daily basis.

Pakistan Today – People of other faith barred from accompanying Sikh pilgrims

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 25 April 2018. Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) on Wednesday barred travellers belonging to non-Sikh faiths from coming along with pilgrims to celebrate their religious festivals in the country.

The ban, imposed by ETPB, implies that Muslim, Hindu and Christian devotees will not be able to enter Pakistan along with Sikh pilgrims, who visit the country in hoards to visit holy sites during Baisakhi and other religious festivals.

Hindu pilgrims will only be able to visit the country on the occasion of their religious festivals, according to the new travel restrictions.

The decision was taken after two Indian citizens went missing during Baisakhi festival. It has also been learnt that there were Christians, Hindus and Muslims among the Sikh pilgrims, who arrived on April 12.

ETPB Deputy Director Imran Gondal said that the lists of Sikh pilgrims from India are sent directly to the interior ministry rather than the board, due to which recognition of the pilgrims becomes a hurdle.

Pakistan’s Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has also protested over participation of people belonging to other religions in their rituals. India’s Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has been clearly asked to send a copy of the list of the Sikh pilgrims to the ETPB.

Meanwhile, Amritsar’s Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee head Sardar Rajinder Singh said that visa applications of the pilgrims are sent to the federal and state governments and verified by intelligence agencies.

He informed that the committee had sent only 718 pilgrims during the current tour while the other over 1,000 pilgrims came through different small travelling groups.

He also revealed that different groups take Rs 1,000 from pilgrims for Pakistan’s visa and include names without verification while the committee charges only Rs250 for visa.

He promised that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee will ensure that people from other religious groups apart from Sikhs do not visit Pakistan in the future.

The Tribune – New building to house Sikh Reference Library

Tribune News Service

Bathinda – Panjab – India, 20 April 2018. The SGPC executive committee on Friday gave nod for the construction of a new building for the Sikh Reference Library. The decision was reached at a meeting of the committee presided over by SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo.

Addressing mediapersons, Longowal said the library was ruined during the Operation Blue Star in 1984 and the Army “had taken away a lot of Sikh literature” from there. He said the library had once again turned into a treasure trove of Sikh literature following the efforts of the SGPC.

He said the new building to house the Sikh Reference Library will be constructed at the current location of Bhai Gurdas Hall in Amritsar. Along with it, a ‘sarai’ to facilitate lodging of the pilgrims will also be constructed.

Talking about other decisions, he said the SGPC would give a reward of Rs 1 lakh each to “sabat soorat” Sikh youths (having unshorn hair) making it to competitive exams like IAS and IPS. Similarly, those getting selected in the PCS will be given Rs 75,000 each.

He said Sikhs doing commendable work in science and agricultural research at the international level would also be awarded Rs 1 lakh each. – In absence of aid by Panjab government for gas cylinder blast near Amritsar; SGPC announces aid for victim families

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 26 February 2018. The apex Sikh body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee has announced to provide financial aid to the victims of gas cylinder blast incident in village Kale Ghanupur near Amritsar Sahib.

As per press note shared with Sikh24, the SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal has informed that the families of seriously injured children will be given financial aid of Rupees 50,000 while the families of other injured children will be given financial aid of Rupees 20,000.

He has said that the SGPC was committed to help the families of victim children in every possible way.

Longowal has also appealed to the administration to take suitable measures to control presence of balloon sellers in public gatherings.

It may be recalled here that on February 24 at around 03:30 pm, a blast in a gas cylinder of a balloon seller named Satnam Singh had left seven children seriously injured at an annual fair in village Kale Ghanupur (near Amritsar Sahib). Balloon seller Satnam Singh died in this blast.

Satnam Singh, of Guru Nanak Pura village, was selling gas balloons at the annual fair of Baba Darshan Singh held in the village along the national highway 1.

Gurpreet Singh, 13, was injured on his right leg; Ekampreet Singh, 5, (forehead); Lovepreet Singh, 13, (right leg was severed from body); Akashdeep Singh, 14, (right thigh); Jashandeep Singh, 10, (left leg); Amritpal Singh, 8 (face, eyes and left leg) and Sneha, 6, (left leg).

A vegetable seller, also named Satnam Singh, 32, received eye injuries. – SGPC to launch ‘One Village, One Gurdwara’ campaign in Punjab

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 24 February 2018. Speaking with Sikh24 earlier today, SGPC President Gobind Singh Longowal informed that there was a big need to eradicate the divide in Punjab’s Sikh sangat.

He expressed concern over multiple caste Gurdwaras in villages across Punjab. He said the SGPC will deal with this problem to ensure caste is not dividing the Sikhs.

The SGPC is going launch a campaign named ‘One Village, One Gurdwara’ to ensure existence of a single centralized Gurdwara Sahib in each village of Punjab,” he said.

He added that the SGPC will chalk out a solid program to encourage Sikh masses of all villages to get united at a single Gurdwara Sahib in their villages.

Expressing concern over rising count of caste based Gurdwara Sahib in villages of Punjab, Longowal said that the people hungry of name and fame establish new Gurdwara Sahib in villages to use it as their personal property.

He added that Sikhi was plaintiff of treating every human equally irrespective of caste, creed and colour but these villagers of Punjab have violated the Sikh tenets by naming Gurdwara as per caste names.

On being asked about what would be done with the vacated buildings of these Gurdwara Sahibs, Longowal said that these buildings could be used to establish general schools, kirtan and gurmat training center and libraries.

Longowal further said that the SGPC will also make an appeal to the Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh to honour management committees of the Gurdwara Sahibs which will become part of this campaign. – SGPC and DSGMC to celebrate 300th Birth Anniversary of Sikh General Jassa Singh Ahluwalia

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar Sahib-Panjab-India, 26 January 2018. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee have decided to celebrate 300th birth anniversary of the great Sikh general Jassa Singh Ahluwalia at large scale in April this year.

Special religious programs have been chalked out in this concern by the SGPC and DSGMC.

Speaking with Sikh24 on January 26, SGPC President Gobind Singh Longowal and DSGMC President Manjit Singh GK informed that a Gurmat Samagam commemorated to 300th birth anniversary of Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia will be held at Gurdwara Manji Sahib Diwan Hall on April 22.

A religious procession will be commenced on April 23 which will conclude at New Delhi on April 27 after traversing various cities and towns of Punjab and Haryana on the way.

They added that programs in relation to Delhi Fateh Diwas will be held on April 27 & 28 in Delhi and Khalsa Sports Meet will be organized on April 29.

The duo leaders said that they were also making efforts to organize programs at village Ahlu of Lahore (Pakistan) which is the birth place of Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.

DSGMC General Secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that these Sikh generals fought relentlessly to end the Mughal Empire from the present day India*. He added that the Indian President and Prime Minister will also be given invitation to attend these celebration programs.

Avtar Singh Hitt from Delhi said on this occasion that it was very unfortunate that the foreigners give so much respect to the bravery of great Sikh generals but Sikhs themselves do not make any effort to apprise our children about such bravery tales.

Budha Dal’s Chief Baba Balbir Singh, Sardar Paramjit Singh Rana, Sardar Harmeet Singh Kalka, Sardar Vijaypal Singh and others were also present on this occasion.

*From present day India ? Not from present day Pakistan ?
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