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Posted at: Oct 16, 2015, 2:02 AM; last updated: Oct 16, 2015, 1:35 AM (IST)KOTKAPURA FALLOUT

7 SGPC members quit, allege govt failure

Claim the premier Sikh religious body has let them down

Upset over pardon to dera chief

  • Jaspal Kaur Mehraj of Rampura Phul alleges sorry state of religious affairs. She says timely action against the culprits of "bir" sacrilege could have saved the state from the ongoing unrest among the Sikhs
  • Avtar Singh Ghariala says he is perturbed over the grant of pardon to the dera head without adhering to the Sikh "maryada" and the police action on Sikh protesters in Kotkapura
  • Gurpal Singh Gora on Thursday joined the protesters in Gidderbaha. He told the gathering: "I am first a Sikh and then an SGPC member. I quit from the post to protest the act of sacrilege."
  • Jaswant Singh Purain says: "The SGPC was formed to spread the Sikh religion and protect the community. The recent incidents of communal tension in the state have let me down."
  • Kaka Sukhjit Singh Lohgarh alleges the Akali leadership is playing dirty politics in the name of religion. "The police have killed innocent Sikhs and tortured protesters at the behest of Akalis," he says.
  • Jagtar Singh Rode was arrested by the Moga police while protesting against the Sikh clergy over the grant of pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief last week. He was released on bail on Wednesday
  • Sukh Harpreet Singh Rode, who has also resigned from the Akali Dal, terms the Kotkapura incident as an attempt by the Akali leadership to curb the voice of the Sikh community

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15

Upset over the alleged act of sacrilege of a "bir" of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari village in Kotkapura a few days ago and subsequent killing of protesting Sikh youths, seven SGPC members today announced to quit the religious body. 

They are Jaspal Kaur Mehraj of Rampura Phul, Avtar Singh Ghariala of Tarn Taran, Gurpal Singh Gora of Gidderbaha, Jaswant Singh Purain of Sibhwan Bet, Kaka Sukhjit Singh Lohgarh, Jagtar Singh Rode and Sukh Harpreet Singh Rode.

Rampura Phul: Mehraj announced her decision while addressing protesters in the town. She said she took the decision over the sorry state of religious affairs. 

Accusing the government of not taking adequate steps after the theft of a "bir" of Guru Granth Sahib from Bargari village, she said timely action against the culprits could have saved the state from the ongoing unrest among the Sikh community.

Tarn Taran: Ghariala, head of Dera Shaheed Bhai Lakhbir Singh, said he was perturbed as the dera head was pardoned in violation of the Sikh "maryada".

He said he was upset over the police action on Sikh protesters in Kotkapura. Avtar Singh has sent his resignation to the SGPC president. He was elected SGPC member from Valtoha and was backed by Akali MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha.

Gidderbaha: Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's aide and three-time SGPC member Gurpal Singh Gora too resigned from his post.

Gora, who won the SGPC elections with the highest margin of over 37,000 votes in the state in 2011, is the father of former OSD to Deputy CM Jagsir Singh. He has also been on the post of senior vice-president of the SGPC.

He today joined the protesters who blocked the Malout-Bathinda highway at Gidderbaha. He told the gathering: "I am first a Sikh and then an SGPC member. I quit from the post to protest the act of sacrilege. The government has failed even to identify those behind this shameful act."

Jagraon: Purain is the SGPC member from Sidhwan Bet. He has also announced to resign from his various posts in the Akali Dal.

Purain said he decided to quit the SGPC as it had failed to protect the Sikh principles. "The SGPC was formed to spread the Sikh religion and protect the community. The recent incidents of communal tension in the state have let me down," he said.

Purain said he had resigned from the Akali Dal as the party had faltered from its path to gain political mileage. He said he had informed party president Sukhbir Badal about his decision.

Moga: Congress leader Lohgarh, an independent member of the SGPC, Sukh Harpreet Singh Rode of Samalsar and Jagtar Singh Rode, a nominated member, too submitted their resignations.

Lohgarh alleged the Akali leadership was playing dirty politics in the name of religion for vested political interests. Jagtar Singh was arrested while protesting against the Sikh clergy over the grant of pardon to the dera chief last week. Sukh Harpreet termed the Kotkapura incident as an attempt by the Akalis to curb the voice of the Sikhs.

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