Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body of the Sikhs in the country, passed a resolution against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), alleging that the organisation is trying to establish ‘Hindu Rashtra’. The resolution against RSS comes in the backdrop of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) – the political arm of the SGPC, isolating itself from its alliance with BJP over the farm laws.
Ever since SAD drifted away from the more than two-decade-old alliance, it seems to have taken a radical turn and is allegedly trying to woo the Khalistani elements of the community which have drifted towards the Aam Aadmi Party in the last few years. Now the Badal family-controlled SGPC and Shiromani Akali Dal are allegedly creating fear psychosis among the Sikhs against Hindus to unite them against the ‘imminent threat’.
Individual Sikh leaders have criticised RSS in the past but it is for the first time that a resolution has been passed against RSS in the assembly of SGPC. Passed during the budget session of the SGPC assembly, the resolution reads, “India is a multi-religious, multilingual and multi-ethnic country. Its beauty is that the constitution gives equality to all faiths… and every religion has made great contribution to its freedom, especially the Sikh community, which has made more than 80% sacrifices. Sadly, for a long time now, freedom of other religions has been suppressed in the wake of the RSS’s attempts to make the country a Hindu Rashtra. Minorities are being intimidated and frightened through direct and indirect unnecessary interference into their faith.”
The SGPC resolution also cautioned the Government of India. “Today’s general session cautions the Government of India that…it should respect sentiments of followers of every religion and rein in elements, which attempt to suppress the voice of minorities. Religious rights of every religion’s followers must be protected,” it reads.
As previously reported by TFI, last year the Union government was trying to ensure that the SGPC elections were held as soon as possible and that the Badals are ousted from the control of the body. The polls to the 170-member strong SGPC were last held in 2011 when the SAD-Sant Samaj combine had garnered a total of 157 seats. The tenure for each SGPC committee is five years, and the delay in elections has been caused by the Badal-led Akali Dal, which fears getting routed from polls if they were to be conducted in the politically charged atmosphere against them.
Rampant corruption, mismanagement of Gurdwaras, a monopoly over the Akal Takht and other premier Sikh institutions of authority, and a general sense of ownership over the Sikh Panth are all factors bound to work tremendously to the Badal-led Akali Dal’s disadvantage in the SGPC polls.
Akali Dal’s control over the SGPC effectively means having control over the Sikh Panth. However, with this control, the Akali Dal due to its misadventure in New Delhi is all set to lose. If voted out of the SGPC, there is no saving the political fortunes of the Badals, as they will then head towards a downward spiral, one from where the dynasty could not be saved. The Union government must make it a point to conduct the SGPC elections as soon as possible if the sanctity of Sikh institutions is to be preserved.
Moreover, it will also ensure that the opportunists like the Badals do not use SGPC as a political stage. The Akali Dal is allegedly trying to create a rift between Hindus and Sikhs to score political points and must be ousted from the body.