September 30, 2000,
Crucial SGPC executive meeting on Oct 6
AMRITSAR, Sept 29 — The crucial SGPC executive meeting scheduled for October 3 has been postponed to October 6 as counting of votes for the Sunam byelection will be held then and the outcome is bound to effect the decisions of the executive committee.
The meeting, which will be held at Anandpur Sahib, is seen as significant as the election of the SGPC President will be held in November, a month after the executive committee. Another important meeting of the Dharm Parchar Committee will be held on October 4 which will touch upon significant subjects.
Sources say the executive meeting would decide the fate of the Secretary, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, who has been indicted by a three-member committee for making “wrong” payment to a SGPC member.
The report, prepared by Mr Hardalbir Singh Shah, General Secretary, and two more SGPC members, Ms Kiranjot Kaur and Mr Jaswinder Singh Advocate, has been submitted to Bibi Jagir Kaur. The committee has recommended immediate removal of Dr Bachan as Secretary who is on a year’s deputation with the SGPC from Guru Nanak Dev University.
If no action is taken on the report of the inquiry committee, it may annoy the members of inquiry committee and Mr Balbir Singh Pannu, Senior Vice-President, SGPC, who had locked the strongroom of the cashier after the alleged ‘wrong payment’ to Mr Kashmir Singh Gandiwind, an SGPC member. Dr Bachan, however, claims that he had not violated the bylaws of the SGPC. He alleges the issue of ‘wrong’ payment has been raised by Mr Pannu with a view to embarrass Mr Parkash Singh Badal. One of the inquiry committee members is reportedly sore with Dr Bachan as he had ordered the transfer of a ‘near and dear one’.
Sources in the SGPC say there are several crucial issues pending including the ‘Dasam Granth’ controversy.
Another significant matter pending with the SGPC executive is the case of Giani Puran Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht. At the time of removal of Giani Puran Singh, the SGPC executive had transferred him as granthi to Darbar Sahib, Muktsar. However, Giani Puran Singh refused to join at Muktsar on the ground that a granthi of the Golden Temple could not be transferred to any other place.
The SGPC executive could not take any decision on the controversial, ‘Nanakshahi calendar’ which had led to a confrontation between Bibi Jagir Kaur and Giani Puran Singh. While the SGPC executive had implemented the controversial calendar, the then Jathedar of Akal Takht had imposed a ban on it.
The executive could not take any decision on the ‘draft notification’ of the Gurdwara Act, 1925, sent to the Central Government by Justice Harbans Singh (Retd), Chairman, Sikh Gurudwara Commission, for deleting the word “sehajdhari” from the Act.
Bibi Jagir Kaur had written to the Central Government not to consider the recommendations of Justice Harbans Singh as it was to be discussed at the general house of the Shiromani committee. However, no decision has been taken so far.
The advance payment of Rs 50 lakh to Baba Jagtar Singh for ‘kar seva’ may also come up for discussion. Members belonging to the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and the SAD (Amritsar) are likely to force the executive to withdraw the decision as there is no provision for advance payment.
The destruction of Sikh Reference Library by the CBI or the Army will also be debated at length.
Though the SGPC executive had formed a three-member committee headed by Mr Balbir Singh Pannu to probe charges against Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedars of Sri Kesgarh Sahib and Takht Damdama Sahib, respectively, yet the committee has not held a single meeting so far. Mr Pannu may raise the issue at this meeting.
Mr Pannu who belongs to a ruling party has been levelling serious charges of corruption against senior functionaries of the Shiromani committee.
The SGPC executive could not take any decision on sending jathas to Pakistan after April, 1999. Bibi Jagir Kaur had announced she would visit Pakistan after seeking permission from the Central Government so that the demand for disbanding of the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee could be taken up with the Pakistan authorities.
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