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Statesman News Service CHANDIGARH, Sept. 5: The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to engage the services of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to preserve more than 400 rare manuscripts, including that of holy Guru Granth Sahib, lying in the Sikh Reference Library of the Golden Temple.

Chief of the SGPC Jathedar Avtar Singh and deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu held discussions with experts on the matter. After holding a meeting with chief minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the SGPC president said that the issue of preserving the rare manuscripts, including hand-written Birs, would be taken up at a meeting of the executive committee of the SGPC likely to be held after 20 September. Pannu said that the district administration would work in tandem with the SGPC to preserve the monuments of Sikh heritage, including Ramgarhia Bungas and Gurdwara Baba Atal. He said that the services of DP Gupta, a consultant with the ASI, and an expert called Manvinder Gill were being solicited. Earlier, many manuscripts of the library, repository of over 1,500 rare manuscripts, including copies of the Adi Granth, Damdami Bir (dated Bikrami 1739) and various portraits and manuscripts, were destroyed in the Operation Bluestar. The manuscripts were collected by the SGPC from various sources. The library has also a number of handwritten manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib and Hukmnamas, some bearing signatures of revered Sikh Gurus, and a few rare documents pertaining to Indias struggle for Independence. The library was established in 1946.

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