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SGPC says no to its president appearing before sacrilege inquiry panel 

Chandigarh, Sep 30 (IANS) The SGPC on Saturday said its President Kirpal Singh Badungar will not appear before a commission appointed by the Congress government in Punjab to look into all cases of sacrilege in the state since 2015.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), called the mini-Parliament of Sikhs, said it was the supreme body managing Sikh religious affairs and thus could not be summoned by a commission.

The decision not to appear before the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission was taken at a meeting of the SGPC in Patiala, nearly 70 km from here.

The SGPC manages gurdwaras in Punjab, including the holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandar Sahib or Golden Temple in Amritsar, Haryana, Himachal and other places.

The commission had asked Badungar to appear before it on October 8 along with documents pertaining to the pardon granted by the Akal Takht to controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The SGPC was also asked to produce other documents.

The commission had also summoned Akal Takht Jathedar (chief) Gurcharan Singh.

Shiromani Akali Dal leader Daljit Singh Cheema said on Saturday that the SGPC decision was right.

The Congress government, which came to power in Punjab in March, had rejected the report of the earlier Justice Zora Singh Commission set up by the previous SAD-BJP government in Punjab on sacrilege cases.

In April, the Amarinder Singh government set up the new commission headed by Justice Ranjit Singh (retd), a former Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, to investigate all cases of sacrilege reported in Punjab, including three of Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot district in 2015.

The new commission was also tasked to enquire into the firing in Kotkapura on October 14, 2015, and also Behbal Kalan village in Faridkot district, in which two persons were killed. 

The Akali Dal and SGPC dismissed the new panel as a Congress-backed body.

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