Saturday, 18 September 2010

Restore gurdwara land in Hardwar: Sikhs

Almost 500 years after Guru Nanak challenged some of the 'Brahmanical rituals' (karam kaand) on the banks of Ganges, a conflict is building over the rebuilding of a historical shrine which was raised in the First Sikh Master's memory at Hardwar but demolished during the 1984 riots.

While the local administration is accused of facilitating the handing over of the original land of historical gurdwara — Gyan Godri Sahib — to some local shopkeepers, as part of the beautification plan of Har Ki Pauri, opinion is also divided in the Sikh community over the location of the new shrine which the community proposes to build.

To make matters worse, the All India Sikh Conference (AISC), a Delhi-based organization, has given a call to the Sikh community to take out a march from Gurdwara Rakabganj in Delhi to the site in Hardwar on September 22 and 'liberate' the old location for the rebuilding of the gurdwara. This is in direct contradiction to the demand of the local Sikhs, who have agreed to relocate the gurdwara to another place on the banks of a canal fed by the Ganges.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, AISC president Gurcharan Singh Babbar said he was here to appeal to the Sikh leadership to lead the march and claim the land of the historical gurdwara. "The administration is offering land at an alternative site, but the Sikhs would not agree to this. We want to worship at the same place where Guru Nanak gave his message to shun meaningless rituals and serve the creation of god. We have revenue records to prove that the land was in gurdwara's name,'' he said.

Babbar also claimed that he had appealed to the SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal to lead the jatha and prevail upon the BJP government in Uttarakhand to restore the land to Sikhs. "But so far, we haven't got any response,'' he claimed.

Times of India,Chandigarh, Sep 15, 2010

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