Gurdwara polls: Government drops curbs on voters

September 2nd, 2011 - 12:31 am ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Sep 1 (IANS) The withdrawal of a 2003 notification by the central government, which will allow Sehajdari Sikhs to cast votes in this month?s Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections, has given a new political turn to the poll.

Sehajdari Sikhs are those who cut or trim their beards and hair in violation of the Sikh religious tenets. Otherwise, such Sikhs follow the religion, its gurus and the Sikh holy book.

The withdrawal of the notification, issued in 2003 and wherein the rights of Sehajdari Sikhs to cast their vote in the SGPC polls was taken away, was disclosed by counsel of the central government before the Punjab and Haryana High Court here Thursday.

The matter came up for hearing before a full bench of the high court on a petition by some Sehajdari Sikhs seeking their right to vote in the SGPC poll.

The SGPC election is scheduled to be held Sep 18 and campaigning for this is in full swing.

The central government?s withdrawal of the notification is likely to be criticised by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal.

If Sehajdari Sikhs are allowed to vote, this could upset calculations of many candidates.

The Akalis have, in the past, accused the Congress of interfering in Sikh religious affairs by putting up dummy parties and candidates to take control of the SGPC.

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