Saturday, June 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Jacob, Haryana, Himachal back SGPC’s demands
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 14
In a significant development, the governments of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana and the Punjab Governor Lt-Gen JFR Jacob have supported the demands of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, including debarring Sehajdhari Sikhs from exercising their franchise in gurdwara poll. The much required support came at the high-level meeting held in New Delhi which was attended by Chief Minister of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, General Jacob, Union Law Minister Arun Jaitely, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister, and Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC chief.

The meeting was called by the Union Home Minister to discuss the proposed amendments in the 77-year-old Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925.

A press note, issued by SGPC, claimed that as per the aspirations of the Sikh sangat, the meeting decided in principle to accept the demands of the SGPC. The general house of the SGPC had already passed unanimous resolutions to debar the Sehajdhari Sikhs from exercising their franchise during the gurdwara poll. Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a former Chief Minister, had met Mr L.K. Advani, Union Home Minister, separately to pursue the demand of the SGPC in this regard. The meeting also discussed the lowering of age limit from 21 to 18 for Sikh voters for the SGPC poll.

The SGPC sought an amendment to the Gurdwara Act to ensure ‘one man one post’ which means that any MLA or MP will be debarred from becoming an office-bearer of the SGPC simultaneously. In case this amendment is made, the immediate sufferers would be Bibi Jagir Kaur, MLA, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann both MPs, who are aspirants for the coveted post of SGPC President.

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