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Hindu Rashtra Row: Why SGPC and BJP are on a Collision Course

Volunteers of RSS. Representative image. Reuters

Volunteers of RSS. Representative image. Reuters

BJP hit back after SGPC, in a resolution, condemned RSS for allegedly suppressing the freedom of minorities in a bid to make India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’.

A war of words has kicked off between the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the apex Sikh body, for the first time, moved a resolution against the party’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The SGPC’s general house meeting, while passing a resolution, condemned the RSS for allegedly suppressing the freedom of other religions and minorities in an attempt to make the country a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. The meeting was attended by SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur and acting Akal Takht jathedar (head priest) Giani Harpreet Singh. The resolution also accused the RSS of threatening minority communities by intervening in their affairs. “Such attempts were made by the Mughals in the 17th century which were resisted by Sikh gurus while ninth Sikh master Guru Tegh Bahadur made a supreme sacrifice for other communities,” the resolution read.

BJP’s response

The BJP has slammed the SGPC for the resolution. Party leader RP Singh challenged the Sikh body on Thursday to show one case where a Sikh has been lured by Hindus to convert and accused it of “creating a divide among people of Punjab”. Claiming that the SGPC had “failed miserably to stop Sikhs from converting to Christianity in Punjab”, he said as a “cover-up for their failure, they keep raising the false bogey of Hindu Rashtra”. Singh said the RSS had never spoken about creating a Hindu Rashtra and it was the SGPC that was trying to divide the people of Punjab through such messages.

Background

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The SGPC’s move came months after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which, observers say, controls the apex gurdwara body, severed ties with the BJP. In 2019, Akal Takht chief Giani Harpreet Singh called for a ban on the RSS, saying that allowing it to operate freely would only “divide” the nation. The Akal Takht, which translates to “Throne of the Timeless One”, is the highest temporal seat of the Sikh community.

first published:April 02, 2021, 19:56 IST