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Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary: SGPC setting up own stage for celebrations

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: October 11, 2019  | 18:21 IST

Chandigarh, Oct 11 (PTI) The rift between the SGPC and Punjab government over the joint celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev has widened with the apex gurdwara body deciding to set up its own stage at Sultanpur Lodhi in November for the function. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has given the contract for setting up a separate stage for holding the main event at the historic occasion at Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala on November 12 to a Delhi-based company. “Pandal (stage) will be set up. And there will be arrangements for decoration, light and sound system,” said Jagir Kaur, former SGPC chief and member of the coordination committee formed on the directions of Sikhs' highest temporal seat Akal Takht for finalizing the joint celebrations of the programme. Both the Punjab government and the SGPC have been at loggerheads on the joint celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev to be held next month.  The SGPC has decided to hold the main event in a stadium near Gurdwara Ber Sahib in Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala district on November 12, while the state government wants to hold the function near a “tent city” coming up there. The meetings between the state government representatives and the SGPC for the joint celebrations had remained inconclusive. Asserting that the SGPC had always been holding religious functions, Kaur said the state government should not interfere into the SGPC matter. “The government should focus on improving infrastructure like widening of roads to facilitate devotees,” she said. “Why do they (the state government) need to hold separate function?” she asked. Kaur, however, expressed hope that the state government would not hold a separate function on the occasion of the Guru Nanak Dev's 550th birth anniversary and would support the SGPC's function. Punjab minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who is the state government's representative to the coordination panel for finalising the celebrations programme, however, slammed the SGPC, alleging that the apex gurdwara body “never” wanted to hold the joint celebrations. “They are acting at the behest of the Badal family,” he alleged. Randhawa further hit out at the SGPC, accusing it of trying to befool the state government. “They had already decided to hold separate function as they had invited me on September 27 for the event they are holding and was trying to befool us by calling a meeting of the coordination panel on October 4,” said Randhawa. A few days back, the minister had accused the Badals of using the SGPC as a "pawn" to further their "narrow political ends", saying they were out to seek political mileage from the occasion. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the SGPC accompanied by SAD leaders have extended separate invitations to both President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations at Sultanpur Lodhi. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX

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