Chandigarh: Punjab's Congress government and the Sikh Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) exchanged charges over failure to form a coordination panel, as asked by the Akal Takht, to jointly celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. While the SGPC claimed that the first meeting of the panel scheduled for July 14 was not been held, the Punjab government stayed mute on the matter.
Meanwhile, Punjab Cabinet minister and Dera Baba Nanak MLA, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, during a press conference in Amritsar said, “SGPC has been running away from making the coordination committee. But government will celebrate the birth anniversary. We will make arrangements outside the gurdwaras and SGPC will look after the arrangements inside the gurdwaras.”
Reacting to this statement, SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal said, “Punjab government is not serious about the directions of the Akal Takht to form a coordination committee for celebrating the birth anniversary. Government should coordinate with the SGPC for this purpose.” He said that government representatives did not turn up for the coordination committee meeting. “Punjab government did not send the names (of members) for the coordination committee. I had written a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on July 18 for better coordination on the directions of Akal Takht. We were expecting that the first coordination committee meeting will be held today. But somehow, Punjab government is spoiling this idea. Next meeting for the coordination committee is scheduled for September 6. We are hopeful that the government will send names of representatives by then.”
Earlier, both SGPC and Punjab government had been preparing separately for the celebrations, but Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh asked both to make a coordination committee for the celebrations.