The SGPC and Punjab BJP on Monday hailed the Pakistan Supreme Court judgment in favour of gurdwara land in the neighbouring country, which is under threat from the land mafia there.
The court had directed that 400 acres of land be restored to gurdwaras and the value of the remaining land be deposited in gurdwara funds.
It had also directed that buildings which stand in the gurdwara land be demolished.
SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said that the verdict will provide relief to Pakistan’s Sikh community. “Huge plots of land, attached to around 200 gurdwaras in Pakistan, will now be safe,” he said.
BJP state-vice president Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, too, welcomed the decision, saying that the issue had exposed how members of the Aukaf Board and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had colluded with the land mafia there.
“We can hope that land belonging to the shrines in Pakistan will now be protected... There are around 200 gurdwaras in Pakistan, which have huge chunk of land. But these are being grabbed by the mafia. The verdict will give relief to the community,” Chhina said.
Makkar and Chhina both appealed to the Pakistan government to provide protection to gurdwaras and sought help for the community to repair and look after its shrines.
During the last Winter Session of Parliament, BJP had raised the issue of how 544 kanals of agricultural land attached to two Sikh shrines in the Lahore cantonment area in Pakistan had been put on sale in violation of rules barring sale of such property.
The then external affairs minister S M Krishna had taken up the issue with his Pakistan counterpart, leading to a probe being ordered by that country’s government into the alleged irregularities.