Sunday, March 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Setback to Panthic unity move
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 9
Another bid to forge Panthic unity today suffered a setback as two members out of five, mentioned by the World Sikh Conference today said they were not taken into confidence on the matter.

Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, a former Chairman, Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a former Akali minister and confidant of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, in separate statements said they were surprised to read their names in news reports that they had been approached for making efforts on Panthic unit.

Mr Kashmir Singh Patti said he had nothing to do with politics or political activities. “Since my petition, in which I had challenged replacing of members of Sikh Judicial Commission by the then Badal government, is still reserved with the Punjab and Haryana High Court, I am not supposed to indulge in activities like forging Panthic unity,” he said.

He further said his name had been ‘misused’ by the World Sikh Council for “ulterior motives”.

On the other hand, Mr Calcutta said though he was in favour of Panthic unity and enjoyed good ties with Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, General Secretary, World Sikh Council, yet he had not sought his consent for initiating unity moves.

He said Mr Mann had neither met him nor spoken to him after the Assembly elections.

It may be mentioned here that Mr Mann had mentioned that Mr Gur Rattan Pal Singh, Mr Shamsher Singh Maloya, Dr Darshan Singh, Mr Calcutta and Mr Patti had been approached to their support on Panthic unity.

However, Mr Calcutta said Panthic unity could be possible if Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal agreed to the pre-conditions of the Panthic Morcha. He said Mr Tohra had already pointed out that one person should not have monopoly over all three posts like the post of Chief Minister, President, SAD and President SGPC.

Hence, suitable persons should be appointed on these posts who could coordinate in a better way. Mr Calcutta said if the Akalis of different hues failed to forge Panthic unity before the SGPC poll, the ‘non-Sikhs’ could ‘infiltrate’ into the SGPC.

He said Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, SGPC, had already pointed out that under a deep-rooted conspiracy, a large number of ‘non-Sikhs’ under the garb of ‘Sehajdharis’ had succeeded in enrolling themselves as voters.

“In such a situation, the RSS and Congress activists could grab key posts”. He said the need of the hour was a rapprochement among different Akali factions.

He said Mr Badal must accept the genuine pre-conditions of the Panthic Morcha in the larger interests of the Panth. Had the Akali Dal fought the elections unitedly, they would have formed the government again, he said.Back

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