Senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh today criticised Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for "dragging" the Akal Takhat in a controversy regarding the setting up of a separate SGPC for Haryana.
Saying that Akal Takhat is the highest temporal institution, he criticised Badal for "using" SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar into "dragging" the Akal Takhat in the controversy.
The reported statement of Makkar suggesting that Akal Takhat could summon many Congress leaders for supporting Haryana SGPC only reinforced the public belief about the interference into the working of the highest temporal institution of the Sikhs by Badal through Makkar, Singh said.
He clarified that the demand for a separate SGPC was a political issue and it in no way amounted to meddling with the Sikh religious affairs.
"Hence it was wrong to drag Akal Takhat into the whole issue," he remarked, adding, the way Badals and Makkar were behaving only showed that they were trying to misuse the highest temporal authority for their personal and partisan interests.
Badal asked the SGPC chief to read the Sikh history "if they were ignorant of historical facts and also get the relevant legal opinions" before making ill-informed comments.
Amarinder, in a statement here, reminded Badal that he was very much part of the movement of the Akali Dal led by Sant Fateh Singh, which in 1971 launched a morcha that led to creation of Delhi Sikh Managing Committee as demanded by the Sikhs of Delhi, and Badal and other Akali leaders courted arrest and went to Tihar jail for the same.
"If there is nothing wrong in demanding a separate body for Delhi and going to jail for the same what is wrong in the demand for a separate body for Haryana," he asked Badal.
Moreover, he added, there are already separate committees for managing the Gurdwara affairs of Patna Saheb and Hazoor Saheb, Nanded.
"Why to deny same rights to the Haryana Sikhs?" he asked.