Sunday, May 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Akal Takht summons WSC groups
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 5
In order to break the deadlock, Akal Takht has called both warring groups of the World Sikh Council (WSC) on May 14.

Though the then Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, had dissolved both groups of the WSC on February 23 last and formed a 12-member committee, yet parallel bodies continue to work. Lakhs of rupees are lying unused in the bank accounts.

Office-bearers of both groups will be directed to submit their respective accounts during the proposed meeting. Though Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, general secretary, WSC, had submitted the accounts to Giani Puran Singh, the group headed by Justice Kuldip Singh, a retired judge of the Supreme Court (Bhai Ranjit Singh group), has not submitted any details so far.

Bhai Ranjit Singh in his capacity as Jathedar had banned the entry of Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Kesgarh Sahib, at Akal Takht till he submitted the accounts of the WSC.

The accounts continued to be the bone of contention for a long time till the unceremonious removal of Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar, Akal Takht.

Mr Prithipal Singh, personal assistant to the Jathedar of Akal Takht, confirmed that the letters had been despatched to the office-bearers of the WSC. He said the meeting would be held at 11 a.m. on May 14. The five Sikh High Priests would also take up other matters after the meeting of the WSC.

Though the name of Justice Kuldip Singh (Retd) was included on the 12-member committee which replaced both warring groups of the WSC, yet he refused to serve on the committee announced by Giani Puran Singh. In a letter addressed to the latter, the then Jathedar on February, 2000, Justice Kuldip Singh had expressed his inability to serve on the panels.

Though office-bearers of parallel groups of the WSC may attend the proposed meeting at Akal Takht, the matter is unlikely to be resolved. Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar, Akal Takht, won’t allow the parallel group to submit its accounts to the Sikh High priests. Bhai Ranjit Singh still maintains that the actual WSC is headed by Justice Kuldip Singh.

The WSC was formed in September, 1995, at a Sikh sammelan convened by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Prof Manjit Singh, the then acting Jathedar, Akal Takht, was the brain behind the WSC. The WSC became a registered body in 1996.

However, after his installation as Jathedar Akal Takht in 1997, Bhai Ranjit Singh, sought the accounts of the WSC in his capacity as patron of the council. Since Prof Manjit Singh, Mr Jawant Singh Mann, the then general secretary of the WSC failed to submit the accounts to Akal Takht, it snowballed into a major controversy.

After Bhai Ranjit Singh’s removal, Giani Puran Singh was installed Jathedar Akal Takht.

He called office-bearers of both groups at Akal Takht and described the proposed amendment in the constitution of WSC by the council headed by Justice Kuldip Singh as ‘illegal’.

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