Saturday, November 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

21 SGPC men’s ultimatum to Badal
Ardas offered at Takht to de-politicise Sikh body
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 1
The 21 “non-aligned” SGPC members received a shot in the arm when three more members belonging to the Badal faction and one from the SAD (A) today attended ardas held at Akal Takht for “depoliticising” the SGPC.

The members served an ultimatum on Mr Parkash Singh Badal, asking him to respond to the call for electing a consensus candidate as the SGPC chief, failing which they would consider him to be “anti-Panthic” after November 5. They would also declare the candidature of a religious person for contesting the elections after November 5.

Mr Hardip Singh Mohali, SGPC member, said the members would file a PIL petition in the high court, apart from moving the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) to get those SGPC members released who had been kept in “captivity” by the Badal faction in Haryana.

He said the SGPC members had the right to elect their president and other office-bearers in a democratic manner. He said it was unfortunate that despite repeated efforts, Mr Badal had refused to meet the members of the sub-committee while all Akali leaders, including Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala and Bibi Surjit Kaur Barnala had supported the cause taken up by them.

Mr Mal Singh Ghuman and Mr Partap Singh Advocate who have been expelled from the SAD for spearheading the “non-aligned” campaign, said they were not bothered about the action taken against them by the political affairs committee of the SAD.

Apart from Mr Partap Singh Advocate, Bibi Jagjit Kaur and Mr Sadhu Singh Raagi of the SAD expressed their solidarity with the members. Interestingly, Mr Raagi was arrested for possessing poppy husk and opium. A two member inquiry committee constituted by the SGPC had recommended his disqualification from the Shiromani committee. However, Mr Raagi alleged that he had been implicated in a false case and the committee had announced an ex-parte decision.

The members also posed five questions to Mr Badal and asked him why he had not supported their initiative.

Mr Ghuman, convener of the non-aligned SGPC members’ committee, said he would not accept any political post in future. Replying to a question, he said he had acted against his conscience when he had requested Giani Puran Singh to accept the post of Jathedar, Akal Takht, under pressure from Mr Badal. He admitted that the appointment of Giani Puran Singh at a Circuit House was against the established Sikh traditions.


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