Wednesday, 18 December 2013

High court directs Punjab to find gurdwaras to display relics of Sikh gurus

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday directed the Punjab government to find two gurdwaras, run by Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), in Nabha where 12 relics of Guru Gobind Singh and other gurus could be displayed for public.

Division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Augustine George Masih has also set a deadline of one month for the state to take a decision on this.

At present, these relics were not open for public. Out of 12 such relics, four are lying with ruling family of Nabha at Delhi, while eight are locked in Quila Mubarak in Patiala. For over 240 years, there were kept at Hira Mahal.

Bench has passed these orders during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Nabha Public Society.

In its PIL filed through its president Gurmail Singh, the petitioner society had sought directions to the authorities to display sacred relics of Guru Gobind Singh and other gurus at Hira Mahal in Nabha. Petitioner had also prayed to restrain the authorities from transferring the historic and sacred relics of gurus elsewhere that was likely to hurt religious sentiments of worshipers.

According to the petitioner, after the battle of "Bhagani", the 10th Guru Gobind Singh, bestowed his turban, comb with hair and a sword with a Hukamnana (edict) to Fakir Budhu Shah. These were later transferred to the Maharaja of Nabha and were kept along with the Guru Granth Sahib at Hira Mahal for public display. It was also informed that the Maharaja had created an educational trust, Maharaja Partap Singh Trust.

The Hira Mahal building, which was his private property, was given to Punjab Public School Nabha Society, for educational causes in 1994, without any monetary benefits.

Petitioner society had also alleged that the present chairman of the trust, Tikka Hanumant Singh, transported the sacred relics, heirlooms and writings to his own residence at Delhi and kept them locked. On directions from the high court in 2008, the items were brought back from Delhi, but have been kept locked at Patiala's Quila Mubarak.

Taking up the petition, the HC had issued notices to the Punjab government, Maharaja Partap Singh Trust, Tikka Hanumant Singh and Punjab Public School, Nabha asking them to file their replies on the contentions raised in the petition.

Ajay Sura,TNN | Dec 18, 2013

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