Row over non-baptised members: Chief Khalsa Diwan authorities in a fix ahead of March 25 elections

Hindustan Times, Amritsar | By
Mar 18, 2018 02:11 PM IST

‘Unconstitutional’: As there are many non-baptised candidates in the fray, baptised members have objected to their candidature.

Controversy over non-baptised members of the Sikh socio-religious organisation, Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD), refuses to die down and it has put office-bearers of the organisation in a fix. The controversy arose a few days ago in the wake of elections being held on March 25 for three top posts of president, vice-president and general secretary.  

Former chief of Khalsa Diwan Charanjit Singh Chadha (R) with his now-deceased son Inderpreet Singh.(HT File)
Former chief of Khalsa Diwan Charanjit Singh Chadha (R) with his now-deceased son Inderpreet Singh.(HT File)

As the constitution of the 115-year-old organisation that runs more than 50 schools, besides some social welfare institutions, does not allow non-baptised and patit (the Sikhs who trim hair or cut their beard) Sikhs to join the CKD as members and Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh had also issued a directive a few days ago to endorse the constitution. 

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 As there is sizeable number of non-baptised candidates in the fray for March 25 polls, many baptised members have raised objections over the candidature of the non-baptised Sikhs. Election observers — former Guru Nanak Dev University vice-chancellor (V-C) Surinderpal Singh, principal Baljinder Singh (retd) and Iqbal Singh Lalpura, IPS (retd.) have also got formal complaints against them from a few members.  

Acting president Dhanraj Singh, while addressing a press conference, stated that election observers can take a decision in this regard on their own. However, the latter have thrown the ball in the court of the acting president and of honorary secretary.

In a letter to Dhanraj Singh and honorary secretary Narinder Singh Khurana, a copy of which is available with HT, observers not only refer to the constitution, which disallows non-baptised members to join the CKD, but also urged them to call an emergency meeting of the CKD executive committee to take a decision on the matter and then send them the final list of members to be prepared in the light of the constitution.  

Source in the office of the CKD said that identifying baptised members is very tough and it has put the top office- bearers in a fix. Meanwhile, Khurana said revising the list of the members is not possible at this stage and these elections would be conducted as per the existing list. “Yes, we would take measures to address the issue for the general elections being held in February 2019”, he added. 

Acting president Dhanraj Singh, Dr Santokh Singh and former Akali MP Rajmohinder Singh Majitha are contesting the polls for the post of president.

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    Surjit Singh is a correspondent. He covers politics and agriculture, besides religious affairs and Indo-Pak border in Amritsar and Tarn Taran.

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