NEW DELHI — The Government will soon amend the Sikh Gurdwaras Act and the Arms Act. It will also introduce legislation to prevent the misuse of religious places.

Ordinances to give effect to the Government plan would be promulgated in the next few days.

This was disclosed by the Union Minister of State for Home. Mr. P. Chidambaram, at a meeting here on Tuesday with the opposition leaders. The meeting had been convened by the Home Minister, Mr. Buta Singh.

(According to UNI, the Union Cabinet is believed to have given final touches to a draft ordinance to amend the Sikh Gurdwaras Act.

(The Cabinet, which met here on Tuesday night with the Prime Minister, Mr. ray Gandhi, in the chair, briefly reviewed the situation in Punjab following the successful operation to clear the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar of militants.

(It was felt that loopholes in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act should be plugged through an ordinance, which is expected to be promulgated shortly.)

Mr., Buta Singh told the opposition leaders that the recent action of security forces to flush out militants from the Golden Temple complex had achieved certain tactical objectives, but the problem of “terrorism” was yet to be solved.

‘The Home Minister told the opposition leaders that the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) had not responded to the Amritsar Deputy Commissioner’s letter stipulating certain conditions which had to be met relating to security of the Golden Temple, before the custody of the shrine was handed over to it.

Mr. Buta Singh said it would be against public interest to hand over the Temple to the SGPC without an undertaking that the shrine would not be allowed to be used by the militants.

The Home Minister, however, hoped that the SGPC would bow to the prevailing public opinion and come forward to shoulder the responsibility.

The opposition leaders said the time was ripe for a political initiative to solve the Punjab problem and to isolate the militants.

The role of the SGPC and the unfiled Akali Dal was also criticized by the opposition leaders. They also urged the Government to initiate action for the release of the remaining Jodhpur detainees.

Gen. J. S. Aurora (Akali Dall) said the SGPC should come forward to fulfill its duties, but at the same time the Government should also “think forward.”

He demanded action against those responsible for the killings in the November 1984 riots and other measures to redress the grievances of the Sikhs.

‘The opposition leaders who attended the meeting included Mr. Atal Behari Vaipayee (BJP), Mr. Inderjit Gupta and Mr. N. E. Balaram (both CPI), Mr. Virendra Verma (Lok Dal-B), Gen. J. S. Aurora (Akali Dal-L), Mr. Madhu Dandavate (Janata), and Mr. Samar Mukheriee, (CPIM).

Article extracted from this publication >> June 3, 1988