Amritsar, March 14: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Tuesday handed over a memorandum of six demands concerning the Sikhs, including clemency to death row convict in former Punjab CM Beant Singh assassination case Balwant Singh Rajoana, to Union home minister Rajnath Singh.
Rajnath, who paid obeisance at the Golden Temple before unveiling the statue of freedom fighter Udham Singh at Jallianwala Bagh, was honoured with a ‘siropa’ (robe of honour), a replica of the Golden Temple and a set of books on Sikhism by the SGPC which manages affairs of major Sikh shrines by the SGPC.
SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal said the memorandum also contains the demand for construction of a corridor linking Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district with the historical Kartarpur Sahib shrine in Pakistan, where Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev spent his time, in the wake of the latter’s 550th birth anniversary.
Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib is visible from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine as both are located along the Indo-Pak border. The construction of corridor is a long-pending demand of the Sikh community. The Guru’s 550th birth anniversary will be celebrated on a large scale in India and Pakistan in 2019.
Besides, the SGPC also reiterated the demand of exempting langar (free community kitchen) from Goods and Service Tax (GST) citing heavy burden on their budget. Longowal sought special notification for GST exemption.
Other demands included giving minority status to the Sikhs living in Jammu and Kashmir, returning of rare manuscripts and Sikh literature the Indian Army took along during the Operation Bluestar and immediate release of Sikh prisoners. Rajnath assured them to consider their demands.
Source Hindustan Times