It’s time to clean up Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). And the place to start is at the election of its office members.
Harvinder Singh Phoolka, a former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader who quit politics after seeing the conviction of senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre, has now trained his eyes on the clean up job.
The lawyer-turned-politician has formed the Sikh Sewak Sangathan (SSS), a non-political group that intends to depoliticise SGPC and free Punjab from drugs.
“We don’t want to shift control of SGPC from one political party to another. We shall provide a platform to all those against the politicisation of SGPC,” he told Times of India in an interview. See here.
He said the idea was to bring Sikh religious groups — missionaries, preachers, sant samaj and other non-political groups — together, urging them to set aside their differences and chalk out a common minimum programme.
“There are several jathas already serving the gurdwaras and the community but they don’t get any opportunity. We shall act as facilitator to so that they can perform the sewa at larger level,” he said.
In July 2017, HS Phoolka had given up the position of leader of opposition to continue fighting the cases of 1984 anti-Sikh massacre victims. In January 2019, he resigned to push forward his latest initiative.
On the organisational structure, he said there would be a core group of five members, then a 21-member committee, and then 51-member committee.
“None from the core group or the 21 members would contest the SGPC elections. They would be guiding and running the movement. The core group will be taking up the issues with the Centre, Punjab government, Chief Commissioner Gurudwara Election and if required moving the courts to ensure that elections are held in a free and fair manner, rules are implemented in letter and spirit. They would create an atmosphere where spirit of Sikh ethos is not lost in the elections,” he said.
Asked why he launched the movement at this juncture, Phoolka told the newspaper that the urge within the community was over two decades old.
“In 1999, there was brazen political interference in the working of SGPC and even in working of Akal Takht that had triggered a debate in the community and issue was strongly discussed at Sikh forum in Delhi too. While community wanted improvement but things kept on deteriorating and in last few years, with pardon to Sirsa dear chief and then SGPC spending funds to justify it, Bargari sacrilege etc made it clear that things were at worst level.
“Now, it is time to completely reverse the trend. It is a now or never situation as the urge within the community to free it from political clutches is at its peak. The strongest institution of the community has become subservient to vested political interests.”
Congress leader Sajjan Kumar sentenced to life imprisonment in 1984 Sikh genocide (Asia Samachar, 17 Dec 2018)
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