M A I N   N E W S

Makkar is SGPC chief
Bhaur back as General Secy
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service


  • Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, newly elected SGPC chief, announced that being a humble Sikh he would use his own ordinary car for official purposes even as the luxury Toyata Camry car, purchased by Bibi Jagir Kaur from the Dharm Parchar funds would be used for foreign dignitaries.
  • Even as the Sikh clergy has directed the Sikhs not to use their castes with their names, the new SGPC chief may be compelled to drop the suffix “Makkar” from his name’. After formation of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, no President had ever used his caste after his name. All the previous presidents normally used the name of their village as suffix with their names.

Amritsar, November 23
After half a century, an urban Sikh, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, who is considered greenhorn in Sikh politics, became the 38th President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), with a voice vote at the general house of mini parliament of the Sikhs here today. The last urban SGPC chief was legendary Master Tara Singh, who ruled the hearts of Sikh masses for more than four decades.

The development has come as a great setback to Bibi Jagir Kaur, who was removed unceremoniously, and other aspirants, including veteran Akali leaders, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar and Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan who were hopeful of getting the coveted post till the opening of the sealed envelope, sent through the secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Earlier , she had become the first woman president of the SGPC in 1999 during a tussle between Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

The new SGPC chief, known as the “yes-man” of Mr Badal, thanked the party president, who “blessed” him with the coveted post.

In the beginning, the general house witnessed a little acrimonious scenes when Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, leader of the Panthic Morcha, was not allowed to discuss his agenda items . On this , Mr Panjoli and his associates accused the Sikh clergy of playing a “biased” role. Earlier, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, president of the Sikh Raj Party, supported by SAD (Mann), held a symbolic protest in the SGPC complex for showing indifference to the demands of the Sikh community.

Except for Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, who retained his post of general secretary, most of the SGPC members of the “Tohra group” were seen fuming even as they were not accommodated in the 11-member executive body. Though Mr Raghujit Singh Virk, relative of the SAD chief and resident of Karnal, has been nominated as senior vice-president, the SGPC members from Haryana said their fight to constitute a separate gurdwara parbandhak committee for their state would continue. They said Mr Virk was nominated SGPC member from Punjab and did not represent the Haryana Sikhs. Mr Kewal Singh Badal also retained his post of junior vice-president, while Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, close relative of Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and former acting president of the Shiromani Committee, was not even taken into the executive body.

Those who have been elected as executive members included Jathedar Surjit Singh Gharhi, Mr Suba Singh, Baba Tek Singh, Mr Rajinder Singh Mehta, Mr Santokh Singh, Mr Gurbachan Singh, Mr Daya Singh, Bibi Bhajan Kaur, Mr Gurinderpal Singh Bhatia, Mr Avtar Singh Chakk and Mr Sukhwinder Singh Patti (he was elected SGPC member with the support of the Congress). However, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur and Mr Gurpal Singh Gora, both Badal loyalists were also ousted from the list of the office-bearers.

The new SGPC chief was elected as an SGPC member during the previous elections for the first time from Ludhiana (West). He had lost the previous Assembly elections to Congress candidate, Harnam Dass Johar with more than 13000 votes. Born on January 3, 1943 at Sargodha (now in Pakistan), he studied up to F.A. (non-medical).He has been president of the Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Ludhiana, for more than two decades .

The Panthic circles feel that Mr Makkar has been elected to the coveted post with an eye on the forthcoming Assembly elections to woo the urban voters. This would help to counter the influence of Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, who has lately made deep inroads into the urban turf .

A significant resolution passed by the general house praised Mr Hardev Singh Mattewal for contesting the cases of the Shiromani Committee in the Punjab and Haryana High Court without charging even a penny. Mr Mattewal was instrumental in getting the SGPC-run medical and dental college a status of minority institution. Another resolution sought an immediate release of all Sikhs languishing in various jails of the country.

The SGPC general house unanimously passed resolutions, to start the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service, condemning the discontinuation of financial aid to the educational institutes, and condemning the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Committee for having failed to restore “maryada” in most of the historical gurdwaras there.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |