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After a long battle, the management of Gurdwaras in Delhi came into the hands of the local Sikh voters. After Shiromani Gurdwara Management Committee Sri Amritsar Sahib (SGPC), Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) is the second largest religious body which was established under the Delhi Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1971 enacted by the Parliament of India.

The main objective of this Committee is to manage the affairs of the historical Gurdwaras in Delhi and to look after its properties. As per Delhi Gurdwaras Act, the DSGMC is declared as a purely religious body. Keeping its religious sanctity, only religious parties can take part in these elections and one nominee of SGPC and Jathedar Sahibans of four Sikh Takhats are specifically nominated in 55 member’s DSGMC. It is also expected from the office-bearers and members of the DSGMC that they will look after and manage the Gurdwaras and its institutions strictly in view of the Sikh ethics.

The general elections of four year term of DSGMC were conducted by the government recently on 22 nd August 2021 in which Shiromani Akali Dal Badal secured 27 seats leaving 19 seats for Shiromani Akal Dal Delhi (Sarna groups) and its allies. In accordance with the Gurdwara Rules, 9 members are to be co-opted before election of the Executive Board of DSGMC for which a meeting of 46 elected members from different wards was convened recently by the Delhi Government’s Director Gurdwara Elections.

But after nomination 2 members by voting of these 46 elected members, meeting was postponed by the Director for some reasons due to which two Presidents of the Registered Singh Sabhas of Delhi by draw of lot, one nominee of the SGPC and Jathedar Sahibans of four Sikh Takhats could not be co-opted.

In protest thereof for postponement of meeting, some members of Delhi Committee belonging to the Badal groups and their supporters began using derogatory remarks against the Director and created ruckus by shouted slogans, whereas this matter could have peacefully resolved in a democratic way.

This situation took an ugly turn when an elected member of Badal Dal Atma Singh Lubana threw shoe on the Director with an intention to cause bodily hurt to him while he was about to sit in his official car under police security. As per available information, an F.I.R. has been filed by the Director Gurdwara Election in which apart from others, specific allegations have been made against the DSGMC President Manjinder Singh Sirsa accusing him for threats of life to him, against General Secretary Harmeet Singh Kalka for instigating the crowd and threatening the Director with dire consequences and also against the Committee member Atma Singh Lubana for throwing shoe on him with an intention to hurt him grievously.

The IPC Sections imposed in the F.I.R. can put the culprits in jail for 5 years and also cancellation of membership of the erred DSGMC members. The Acts of the alleged violators for disrespecting the turban of a senior Sikh officer is a serious tragedy which is not expected from the leaders of a religious party because the Sikh ethics do not allow such kind of illegal activities.

Available information also gives indications about filing of counter-complaints by the Badal Dal and also filing Court cases against the Director. The sentiments of the Sikh Sangat are deeply hurt by the unlawful acts of abusing a Sikh Officer by the Sikhs, physical assault on him and then filing complaints and court cases against the Officer on duty, whereas the representatives of this purely religious body should not have taken law in their hands but should have sorted out the matter in a peaceful manner. Due to the present complicated scenario, whereas the Co-option process will take some more time for its completion, the constitution of new Executive Board of DSGMC can also be delayed, which is constitutionally not justified. Apart from this, about a dozen of Election Petitions filed in different Courts by the candidates against some elected candidates can also disturb the functioning of DSGMC for a long period.

About the author:
Inder Mohan Singh

Inder Mohan Singh Inder Mohan Singh, an expert in Delhi Gurdwara elections is a member of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. While in government service with the Delhi government he was behind the conduct of Gurdwara body polls from 1977 to 2006. He takes active part in religious deliberations in the Delhi Gurdwara body.

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