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Two SGPC members quit, four to follow suit

punjab Updated: Oct 15, 2015 23:25 IST
HT Correspondent
Tarn Taran

Four other SGPC members, one each from Bathinda and Muktsar districts and two from Moga, have announced to resign but are yet to put in their papers.(HT Photo )

Tarn Taran: Baba Avtar Singh and Sukhwinder Singh Sidhu, members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) from Tarn Taran district, on Thursday quit the gurdwara body in protest against the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari village in Faridkot district and the violence in Kotkapura that claimed the lives of two men.

Four other SGPC members, one each from Bathinda and Muktsar districts and two from Moga, have announced to resign but are yet to put in their papers.

The Tarn Taran duo has also opposed the Akal Takht’s recent decision to pardon Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a blasphemy case, saying that the verdict has dealt a severe blow to the Takht’s integrity and supremacy.

Avtar Singh was elected to the SGPC general house in the 2011 polls from the Valtoha gurdwara constituency, while Sidhu, an independent member who is considered close to the Congress, won from the Patti gurdwara segment in the 2004 elections.

Both have despatched their resignation letters to SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar. However, the letters are yet to reach the SGPC headquarters in Amritsar.

The SGPC general house has 185 members, of which 170 are elected and 15 nominated. In addition, the five Sikh high priests are also its members.

Makkar is not likely to decide on accepting or reject the resignations as both are legally not SGPC members. Candidates elected in the 2004 polls have not given up their claim to membership of the SGPC general house on the grounds that a case challenging the legality of the 2011 elections is pending before the Supreme Court. This case was filed by the Sehajdhari Federation over denial of the right to vote to this section of the community in the SGPC polls.

The apex court has refrained members elected in 2011 from conducting meetings of the general house till the outcome of the case is decided. The court has only allowed the 15-member executive body (including office-bearers), elected in November 2010, to continue with the day-to-day working of the gurdwara body.

Four set to put in papers

Two Akali members of the SGPC on Thursday decided to resign over the Bargari incident. Jaspal Kaur, SGPC member from Rampura Phul (Bathinda), announced her decision before protesters in the town on Thursday. She slammed the state government for failing to safeguard the sanctity of Guru Granth Sahib, adding that she had not supported the decision to pardon the Dera Sacha Sauda head. Jaspal said she would send her resignation on the gurdwara body’s letterhead to SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.

Gurpal Singh Gora, member from Gidderbaha in Muktsar district, has also announced his decision to quit. Talking to HT on the phone, Gora, considered close to the Badal family, said he was a staunch Akali supporter but had no reason to stay on the post as the Punjab government had failed to arrest those involved in the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib.

Meanwhile, two other SGPC members, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s nephew Jagtar Singh Rode and Sukhharpreet Singh Rode, announced their decision to quit before protesters at Bagha Purana in Moga district.