Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

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Bhagwant Mann's Big Assembly Move Tomorrow Amid Gurbani Telecast Row

New Delhi/Amritsar:

The Punjab government will introduce in state assembly tomorrow the Bill for free broadcast of Gurbani from the Harminder Sahib or Golden Temple in Amritsar, said Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

The chief minister had yesterday contended that Gurbani is everyone’s right and it should be free of cost.

“With the blessings of God, we are going to make a historic decision tomorrow, as per the demand of all devotes, we are adding a new clause in the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 that the transmission of Gurbani from Harminder Sahib will be free for all… no tender required… tomorrow in the cabinet… on June 20, a vote will be taken in the state assembly,” his tweet read.

The rights to broadcast Gurbani from Harmandir Sahib has been granted by the Sikhs’ apex body, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee or SGPC to the PTC network, owned by the politically powerful Badal family.

Making it free is expected to break the network’s monopoly and level the ground for all television channels.

Politically, it is likely to dilute the Panthic aura of the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal, which is dominated by the Badals.

When Mr Mann had proposed earlier to make the telecast of Gurbani free, it was fiercely opposed by SGPC, Badals and the Akali Dal.

In a statement, SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami said: “Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann ji should not try to confuse the religious matters of Sikhs… Don’t confuse the country for your political interests. Broadcasting of Gurbani is not a normal broadcast, its sanctity and ethics should not be neglected”.

Akali Dal’s Daljeet Singh Cheema called the move “unconstitutional” and a “direct interference in the religious activities of the Sikh community”.

“The Sikh Gurdwara Act is under Parliament. The Sikh community has elected the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee through voting to take decisions regarding Guru Ghar under this Act of Parliament. Has the above committee passed any such resolution in this regard? Without that, even the Parliament cannot amend this Act. The Sikh community will never tolerate this work being done under the orders of (Arvind) Kejriwal,” read a rough translation of his tweet.

The other opposition parties too — including the BJP and the Congress — are fiercely opposing this, contending that the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 is a law made by Parliament, which the state government cannot change.

Congress’s Sukhpal Singh Khaira questioned how the Punjab government can make a change to a central act.

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