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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Definition of Sikh not as per parent Act, say Sehajdharis

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, July 13, 2014
First Published: 08:31 IST(13/7/2014) | Last Updated: 08:34 IST(13/7/2014)

The Sehajdhari Sikh Party on Saturday though hailed the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Bill, 2014, passed by the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government, it said the definition of Sikh in the bill was too fanatic and not in consonance with the parent Act, which dilutes and divide the minority.

Party’s national president PS Ranu said the parent Act of 1925 defines Sikh as a follower of Shri Guru Granth Sahib and 10 Gurus and have no other religion. Whereas the new bill states that he is follower of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and 10 Gurus with unshorn hair instead of that ‘have no other religion’.

Now, if any Hindu or Christian with unshorn hair is believer in Sikhism, he can be a Sikh but the born Sikhs will not be in the category of Sikh if they are not keeping unshorn hair, he said.

Ranu said though the Sehajdhari Sikhs have been defined in the bill, they have not been considered as voters.

“When we are well recognised under the community in the Act, 1925, then why the bill has ignored our rights of voting,” he said, adding that 80% of the Sikh population in Haryana is of the ‘Sehajdhari Sikhs’ who have no other religions except Sikhism and are the integral part of the Sikh religion and are duly recognised and defined in the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.

“Depriving the large chunk of these Sikhs of their voting rights will violate Article 26 of the Constitution, which provides them their constitutional right,” he said.

The Sehajdhari Sikh Party has represented the government and the governor seeking amendment under Section 56 of the HSGM Bill, 2014, where the government has the right to amend any discrepancy in the bill.

They said making a group of the Sikh community happy and ignoring the majority of Sikh population may backfire the Hooda government in the forthcoming elections if Sehajdharis are not given due representation as per their population and place in the community.

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