00:53 GMT +315 November 2019
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    Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

    'Replica' of India's Biggest Sikh Shrine 'Golden Temple' at Durga Puja Festival Sparks Row

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): In reverence to the Goddess Durga, tens of thousands of captivatingly decorated marquees, or pandals have been set up in different parts of the country.

    As many Indians prepare to celebrate a festival devoted to the Goddess Durga on Tuesday, a marquee set up for the occasion in the country's West Bengal state replicating the holy Sikh shrine the "Golden Temple" has triggered controversy on social media.

    Makeshift temples are made by organisers or event planning groups with innovative themes to draw the maximum numbers of devotees or visitors to their stall.

    In south Kolkata, while trying to outdo others in choosing an innovative theme, one group made a replica of the holy Sikh shrine the "Golden Temple", leaving many from the Sikh community fuming and critical of the move.

    The Indian Sikh shrines' top governing body, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), has addressed the event management company behind the model, and has called the makeshift replica an act of mocking the holiest Sikh shrine " that cannot be replicated in any manner".

    "Any look-alike structures representing the Golden Temple are tantamount to mocking the holy place and hurt Sikh religious sentiments," said SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal

    The SGPC has asked the administration of the Kolkata-based Gurdwara Bara Sikh Sangat to look into the matter, a media report said.

    Delhi-based Sikh politician Manjinder Sing Sirsa slammed it as “hurting Sikh sentiments" while calling it “religious blasphemy”.

    Many people, however, have disagreed with such an objection, with some of them suggesting it reflects religious pluralism.

    Sirsa had to face flak from social media users, who disagreed with his view and perceived it as a depiction of the religious harmony in India.

    Famous Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann, set to perform at the same pandal, cancelled his show and left the city after learning that the pandal is a replica of the Sikh shrine. 

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