Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann Sunday slammed the SGPC chief for his meeting with the SAD leadership and said the apex gurdwara body president will announce an already "decided verdict" on opposing the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill.
Mann's statement came a day before the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is scheduled to hold its general house session in Amritsar to decide its next course of action on opposing the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which aimed to ensure free telecast of Gurbani from the Golden Temple.
The Punjab Assembly had recently passed the bill.
In a statement here, Mann said the SGPC will announce an already “decided verdict on Monday as per directions of its masters.”
The chief minister said it is unfortunate that the premier organisation of Sikhs has now become a “stooge in the hands of its masters”.
Referring to Sunday's meeting of SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami with Shiromani Akali Dal leaders, Mann said it was just a sham as the decision had been already made by the Akali leadership.
The decision has been finalised and the announcement is just a formality, he said.
The chief minister said this can be well judged from the fact that the SGPC president was “summoned” to the Akali Dal office.
The SGPC president has been “dictated” the decision by Akali leaders Sikandar Singh Maluka, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Daljit Singh Cheema, Hira Singh Gabria and others who were present in the meeting, Mann said.
"These leaders are apprising the decision of the Badal family to the president (Dhami) regarding opposition of Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill 2023,” he said.
The chief minister said the decision has been “dictated, decided and delivered by the Badal family”.
The chief minister said the state assembly has already passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill and it will be sent to the governor for his nod.
This bill envisages free to air telecast of the sacred Gurbani from the Golden Temple for all audio and video platforms, he added.
However, the SGPC has been opposing it, claiming that the bill passed by the Punjab Assembly to ensure free telecast of Gurbani from the Golden Temple is against the law, and the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 can only be amended by Parliament.
The SGPC chief had asserted that the 1925 Act was a central legislation and can only be amended by Parliament.
-With PTI Input