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SGPC and Akal Takht Oppose Saffron Touch to Amritsar Railway Station

Amritsar: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Akal Takht, top temporal seat of Sikhs, have opposed the manner in which the railways have proposed to renovate and facelift the railway station here.

Several Sikh outfits and personalities have apprehended that the blueprint of renovation work has a saffron touch and pays no heed to the Sikh heritage values of the holy city.

The proposal to construct a lotus-shaped pond at the main entrance of the railway station has irked the Sikh organisations.

SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal vehemently rejected the revamp plan saying religious insignias on all entry and exit points of the city including the airport, bus stand and railway station should give a reflection of Sikh religious places like the Golden Temple keeping in view the sentiments of visiting pilgrims.

“Religious symbols always reflect the religious importance of a city… This city (Amritsar) is known for the pious Golden Temple,” he said.

Renovation work of the holy city should be done while keeping in view the importance of the world renowned Golden Temple and emotions of the Sikh community, he said.

“The significance of Sikh heritage shouldn’t be ignored at any cost, since hundreds of Sikh devotees around the world throng Amritsar with the motive to pay obeisance at Golden Temple through rail routes,” he said.

“The fourth Sikh Guru Ramdas during his life time had developed the holy city Amritsar while facilitating various skilled persons to establish their business and that areas are still existing in Amritsar,” he said.

Longowal said that he also appealed to the Indian Railways Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) to review the proposed plan as per the importance of Sikh heritage values.

Notably, under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, the IRSDC is going to revamp the station at a cost of Rs 300 crore.

Akal Takht Jathedar Harpreet Singh said that replica of the Golden Temple at the entrance of the railway station must not be removed at the cost of some other insignia, since religious importance of the city must remain intact.

However, state BJP president Shwait Malik said the matter was being blown out of proportion and one should not give political colour to such issues.

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Source: News18