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Chandigarh: The Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann today said that the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Act, 2023 will pave the way for eliminating the undue control of ‘Modern Day Masands’ over the free to air telecast of the sacred Gurbani.

Addressing the media after the Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister said that the Cabinet has today approved to amend The Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 and to insert Section 125 A in the Act thereby casting duty on the SGPC to ensure free to Air live telecast of the Holy Gurbani from Sri Harmandir Sahib. He said that this amendment has been made with the objective that the entire humanity is able to listen to and see the live telecast of Holy Gurbani free of cost. Bhagwant Mann said that this move is aimed at ensuring that Holy Gurbani is not commercialized in any manner.

The Chief Minister said that this Act will be called the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Act, 2023 and will come into force on and with effect from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette. He said that in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, after section 125, section 125-A will be inserted for the live telecast of Gurbani free of cost. Bhagwant Mann said that the Act stipulates that it will be the duty of the Board to propagate the teachings of the Gurus by making uninterrupted (without any on screen running advertisements/commercials/distortion) live feed (Audio or Audio as well as Video) of Holy Gurbani from Sri Harmandir Sahib available free of cost to all media houses, outlets, platforms, channels etc. whoever wishes to broadcast it.

The Chief Minister said that as a humble and devotee Sikh, he is a votary of free to air telecast of the Gurbani across the globe. Bhagwant Mann wondered how this was an attack on panth as he was just opposing the control of a particular channel over the telecast of Gurbani, which is totally unwarranted and unjustified. He said that this move is not aimed at giving rights to any particular channel of government or of any single individual but it is aimed at spreading the message of Gurbani across the globe.

The Chief Minister asserted that the state government is fully competent to amend this act as the Apex court had already through a judgment ruled that this act is not an interstate Act. He said that a single family had dominated in the affairs of the SGPC since long due to which an irreparable damage had been made to the Sikh panth. Bhagwant Mann said that playing a dirty game this family tried to encash the religious sentiments of Sikhs by giving exclusive rights of telecast of Gurbani to their blue eyed channel whereas no mention of word telecast or broadcast was there in the Act.

The Chief Minister said that as people wish to listen to Gurbani from Sri Harmandir Sahib so they had to subscribe to this channel. However, he said that the package of this channel is given along with other channels which is too expensive and can’t be afford by the common man. Bhagwant Mann bemoaned that SGPC, which was constituted by Sikh Gurudwara Act 1925, was entrusted with the task of spreading the message of Gurbani, but it has forgotten its duty while acting as a stooge in the hands of their master family.

The Chief Minister said that 11 years have passed and the SGPC elections have not taken place in the state. He said that it is surprising that the acting President of the SGPC is removing the acting Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib just because he is not towing the line of the master family. Bhagwant Mann categorically said that the Act is not any attack on panth but it is just a humble effort to ensure free to air telecast of sacred Gurbani across the globe.

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