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Only Sikhs will be on board of Nanded gurdwara panel, says Maharashtra Govt

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Mumbai, Feb 9 (PTI) Maharashtra government on Friday said only Sikhs will be part of the Nanded gurdwara committee.

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No non-Sikh will be a member of the panel, an official said, after reports that the state government’s decision to amend the Nanded Sikh Gurudwara Sachkhand Sri Hazur Achalnagar Sahib Act, 1956, angered the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

The government’s decision to amend the Act, to increase the number of its nominees to the religious body’s board has drawn criticism from SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami who said it was “sad, condemnable and a direct interference” in Sikh affairs “which cannot be tolerated”.

Dhami had also written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, seeking an appointment to discuss this issue.

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The Takhat Hazur Sahib in Nanded is one of the five Takhats (high temporal seats) of Sikhs and is of great historical importance as the 10th Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, passed away here.

As per the 1956 Act, the Gurudwara Sachkhand Board, Nanded looks after the management of the Takhat Hazur Sahib. It has an annual budget of around Rs 100 crore and property worth crore.

As per the Act, the 17-member Takhat Hazur Sahib board comprises four nominated SGPC members, four members from Sachkhand Hazur Khalsa Diwan, two Sikh members of Parliament, one from Chief Khalsa Diwan, three directly elected from the seven districts of Marathwada, one member each from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, and the Nanded district collector.

However, according to the new amendment, out of 17 members, 12 will be directly nominated by the Maharashtra government, three will be elected, and the SGPC can now nominate only two. There will be no representation from Parliament or other organisations.

“The government wants to clarify that all the members of the board will be Sikh, be it bureaucrats, experts and intellectuals,” the official said. PTI VT VT

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