Sehajdhari Sikhs want cancellation of SGPC poll

December 21st, 2011 - 11:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Chandigarh, Dec 21 (IANS) A day after the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed a 2003 notification of the central government barring Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections, an organisation of Sehajdhari Sikhs Wednesday sought cancellation of the SGPC polls held earlier this year.

The Sehajdhari Sikhs Foundation (SSF) leaders met the chairman of the Gurdwara Election Commission here Wednesday and submitted a memorandum seeking cancellation of the SGPC elections held in September.

The SSF also sought that the SGPC elections be held again in which Sehajdhari Sikhs should be allowed to vote.

“We have submitted a memorandum to the Gurdwara election commission today seeking that the SGPC polls be cancelled and that these should be held again in view of the latest judgment of the high court,” federation president Paramjit Singh Ranu said here.

Sehajdhari 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, Granth Sahib.

The Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, a registered political party, had filed a petition before the high court seeking voting rights for such Sikhs in the SGPC polls.

The SGPC, an elected religious body of Sikhs for control and management of gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, has an annual budget of nearly Rs.600 crore.

The SGPC is completely dominated by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal party.

The notification barring non-baptised Sikhs from voting was passed in 2003 during the National Democratic Alliance regime following a resolution adopted by the SGPC March 30, 2002.

Punjab Congress president and former chief minister Amarinder Singh said that the Sehajdhari Sikhs had due right to vote in the SGPC elections as they very much belonged to the Sikh religion. He said they were denied the right in an arbitrary manner by the Akali Dal led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

He said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance central government, of which the Shiromani Akali Dal was a constituent, had got the arbitrary notification issued in 2003 at the behest of Badal.

Radical Sikh organization Dal Khalsa Wednesday slammed politicians for creating unnecessary confusion over the definition of Sehajdhari, mixing it with patits (apostates) for vested interests.

Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said the organization has clarified that apostates were not eligible to vote in the SGPC elections ever since the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 was enacted, whereas Sehajdharis were debarred in 2003 with a government notification.

He said the voting right to the Sehajdharis has been a major cause of concern for the community as Sikhs were of the considered opinion that no non-Sikh under any garb should be allowed to meddle or influence in their religious affairs.

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