To “monitor the communal forces”, the SGPC will hire former soldiers to ensure the security of the Golden Temple
THE SHIROMANI Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will hire at least 200 former military personnel to strengthen security in historic gurdwaras, including the Golden Temple. The decision to hire the ex-servicemen, who are to be baptized Sikhs, is also made due to sacrilegious incidents.
SGPC chairman Bibi Jagir Kaur said the move was “an attempt to neutralize efforts to communitize the environment in Punjab.”
“We hire former military personnel because they are dedicated, on time and trained to perform security related work. We used to hire veterans as well, but today their numbers have declined. Recently we hired 22 veterans and there is a demand for more, ”Kaur said.
Recently, an incident of sacrilege was reported in Takht Kesgarh Sahib where the accused was a disciple of Dera Sacha Sauda, after which the SGPC deployed newly hired veterans there.
The SGPC already has a task force, however, its members are untrained and often invite criticism of their unprofessional behavior, sources said.
“There are ongoing efforts to undermine the community harmony of the state. There have been such attempts in the past as well. We don’t want a religious place to be looked down upon. But we have seen recently that the gurdwaras are an ongoing target. We must therefore take steps to ensure that these suspicious people can be apprehended before they do anything that results in community division. It is an attempt to control the communal forces, ”Kaur said.
“Veterans are supposed to be good at keeping an eye out for these bad elements. The director of the Golden Temple called for 150 ex-soldiers. There is the “Galliara” around the Golden Temple where bad elements sometimes rob the faithful. We have lakhs of devotees every day. At night, almost every square inch of the premises of the Golden Temple is occupied. Our hostels remain full. We must therefore ensure the safety of the faithful ”, declared the president of the SGPC.
She added: “It is unfortunate that there is such an environment in the state that we have to take such steps. But we don’t want anyone to create problems. We do not want to take any risks, especially when the elections approach in Punjab.