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On a daylong visit to Amritsar, President Droupadi Murmu visits the Golden Temple and offers reverence

On Thursday, President Droupadi Murmu offered homage at the Golden Temple in this city.


For the president's day-long visit, the city prepared strict security precautions. The president paid respects at the Golden Temple's sanctum sanctorum and listened to "kirtan" while being accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) head Harjinder Singh Dhami. She consumed "karah prasad" as well. She had never been to the city before after being elected president.


She made her obeisance and then walked to the "langar hall" (community kitchen) to see where the utensils were being cleaned. She then travelled to the Golden Temple Information Center, where she was given a robe of honor, a collection of Sikh holy literature, a model of the Golden Temple, and a set of woollen shawls.


Moreover, the president is expected to go to Bhagwan Valmiki Ram Tirath Sthal, Durgiana Temple, and Jallianwala Bagh. The SGPC, the supreme religious organization of the Sikhs, presented two memoranda to the president during her visit to the Golden Temple, one of which dealt with the release of Sikh political prisoners, according to its general secretary Gurcharan Singh Grewal.


The SGPC has been working to secure the release of Sikh inmates who it alleges are still behind bars after serving their sentences. As for the "Bandi Singhs," Harjinder Singh Dhami stated in the document that the SGPC has always called for the democratic release of Sikh inmates.


According to him, the Sikh inmates are being treated unfairly and have their human rights flagrantly violated in the biggest democracy in the world by not being released. "We urge from you to take note of this crucial matter of the release of Sikh inmates and give required instructions to the Government of India and related State Governments for their release," Dhami wrote to the president.


The creation of a separate Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to oversee gurdwara operations in Haryana was the subject of another memo. Incidentally, the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Act, 2014—under which a separate committee was established to oversee gurdwara matters in Haryana—was affirmed by the Supreme Court as constitutionally legitimate last year.


The Haryana government then appointed an ad hoc gurdwara commission in December of the previous year. The historical Gurdwara Sahibs in the state, which are still designated under the management of SGPC pursuant to Section 85 of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, were illegally taken into possession by the Haryana government's nominated gurdwara panel in February 2022 using the police force and administration.


The memorandum stated that the Supreme Court never authorized the Haryana government to forcibly seize control of the administration of the state's gurdwaras that were under SGPC supervision. "...we want you to step in and direct the Government of India to ensure that the management of Gurdwara Sahibs of Haryana state, which are still notified under the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, is restored to the SGPC in addition to repealing the HSGMC Act, 2014," said the note.


The president was welcomed earlier by the governor of Punjab, Banwarilal Purohit, the chief minister of this state, Mann, the union minister, Som Prakash, and the congressman from Amritsar, Gurjeet Singh Aujla.

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