The Sikh community has voiced strong opposition against the recent amendments made by the Maharashtra government to the Nanded Sikh Gurudwara Sachkhand Sri Hazur Apchalnagar Sahib Act, 1956, denouncing it as a “direct interference” in their religious affairs.
The amendment, which grants the state government authority in the appointment of members to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), has sparked protests among Sikhs in Nanded district.
Under the revised legislation, the state government gains the power to nominate 12 out of the 17 SGPC members, reducing the SGPC’s authority in the process. This move has led to concerns within the Sikh community regarding potential government influence over the committee’s decisions.
The SGPC, a body responsible for managing the revered Takhat Hazur Sahib gurdwara in Nanded, has condemned the amendment, saying that it undermines Sikh representation and compromises the committee’s autonomy.
The Gurudwara Sachkhand Board, Nanded, holds religious and cultural importance for Sikhs, being the site where Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of Sikhs, passed away.
SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami criticized the Maharashtra government’s actions, stating that they demonstrate a lack of respect for the Sikh community’s sentiments. He called for meaningful dialogue with Sikh organizations to address the issue and urged the government to reconsider its stance.
This isn’t the first time the Maharashtra government has faced backlash for intervening in Sikh affairs. Similar protests erupted in 2015 over government amendments granting it direct appointment powers for the board’s president, a role previously elected by members.