Wednesday, August 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

SGPC dissolves all educational trusts
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Alamgir (Ludhiana), August 7
In a major development here today, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to dissolve all trusts of the educational institutions founded by it. Although there was no official confirmation of the decision, the SGPC executive member, Mr Harbans Singh Manjpura, who was present at the meeting and owes allegiance to former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra said the decision was taken despite a dissenting note by him and Mr Omkar Singh.

Mr Manjpura claimed the decision was targeted at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, which is controlled by the Tohra group. Mr Tohra is the founder life trustee of the college management trust. The decision will affect about 20 educational institutions, including schools and colleges founded by the SGPC.

This is for the second time after the replacement of Mr Tohra that the SGPC has decided to dissolve the trusts of the educational institutions founded by it. When Bibi Jagir Kaur took over as the SGPC chief at that time also a similar decision had been taken, which was challenged in the court by the management trust of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib. The dissolution has since been stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. A similar petition is pending on behalf of the Guru Ramdass Medical College Trust, Amritsar in the high court.

According to today’s decision, from now onwards the educational institutions will come under the direct control of the SGPC and the SGPC president will be the ex officio head of all these institutions. One of the SGPC members clarified it was the SGPC president and not anyone by name who headed the institution.

On the other hand, justifying the decision, another executive member owing allegiance to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, said the entire property and all assets of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur College were the property of the SGPC. But, he pointed out that the SGPC had no control over the functioning like appointment of employees and other issues. He claimed Mr Tohra was not able to reconcile with the reality that he was no longer the SGPC chief.

Mr Manjpura also disclosed a unanimous resolution was passed in the house denouncing the statement of the Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary, Mr Sukhbir Badal, on the voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs. Mr Badal had reportedly questioned the move to disenfranchise the Sehajdhari Sikhs. However, Mr Talwandi claimed there was no mention of this issue. In fact, he was so angry and upset on the issue that he snubbed Mr Manjpura in presence of the journalists and other executive members saying, “He talks nonsense by habit”. Mr Manjpura stayed quiet and did not react. On the other hand, one of the executive members regretted that Mr Manjpura had narrated everything that had transpired at the SGPC executive to the media.

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