Chandigarh, May 21 (IANS) — The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) had appointed a committee in March to rule on the issue after two Sikh women from Britain demanded they be treated on par with male priests at the Golden Temple at Amritsar, 225 km from here.
But in what is being viewed as a setback to their cause, a lawyer and a woman college principal told the SGPC this could not be permitted.
“As per our culture, we do not consider it desirable that our daughters and sisters should jostle in a crowd of men even at a religious gathering,” lawyer Kartar Singh Goshti said.
He said the plea by Mejinderpal Kaur and Lakhbir Kaur “presents an arrogant fight for a right and expresses motivated desire to become a pioneer of a movement by playing to the media“.
The two women had petitioned the SGPC after they were barred from conducting rituals at the Golden Temple in February.
Goshti said that apart from the bar on rituals, women could conduct seva or voluntary labour at the Golden Temple.
Ghosti was supported by Paramjit Kaur Tiwana, principal of the Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College for Women in Amritsar.
“To ask for ‘seva’ rights inside Sri Darbar Sahib (the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple) is just an attempt to create chaos intentionally,” Tiwana contended.
She argued “even at home, for maintaining a healthy atmosphere, we maintain a respectable distance between father and daughter, brother and sister, mother and son, and the human instinct, known as libido in Freudian terms, is kept under control.
“So, when we maintain it at home, how can we violate it at a religious place?” Tiwana asked.
U.S.-based human rights group Voices for Freedom had also petitioned the SGPC on behalf of the two women.
The SGPC had asked the to submit its report by May 15. Though the sub-committee was to meet on May 8, it was postponed due to lack of a quorum. It was not known when the committee would meet or when the report would be submitted.
© Copyright 2003 IANS India Private Limited, New Delhi. Posted on Religioscope with permission.