Sikhs resent SGPC’s indifference to Himachal

Shimla: Neglected by SGPC, resentment brews among the Sikh community in Himachal who though not in a position of strength to demand a separate SGPC for the state want the parent body to open schools, colleges and hospitals that could benefit them and others.

Even some of the historic gurudwaras associated with Shiri Guru Gobind Singh in Himachal are not looked after by SGPC, says Sewa Singh, a member of the local Singh Sabha here.

He adds, “we have written several letters to SGPC pointing out the conditions of the historic Gurudwara’s at Nahan, Nadaun, Bilaspur and Mandi but none responds.

Salary of raghis and granthis have not been revised for long periods. Once in a while a SGPC functionary does come on a visit here, but besides spending a holiday practically nothing else is done,” he said.

Another Singh Sabha member disclosed that demand for having a separate Gurudwara Prabandak Committee has been raised from time to time and a dissenting group had even made a presentation to chief minister Prakash Singh Badal sometime ago.

Giving details about the voters for the ensuing election to be held on 18th September, Kewal Sharma, deputy commissioner SGPC election said that there were a total of 23,011 voters for the lone seat in Himachal for which voting would be held at 131 booths across the state.

For the SGPC seat in Himachal, there are 6 candidates in the fray which include Daljeet Singh Bhinder (SAD), Ishwar Singh Man (Panthic Morcha), Bhupinder Singh (Akali Dan Man) and three independents Hari Singh, Mohinder Singh and Mahinder Singh.

Not satisfied with SGPC’s working in Himachal, Mohiner Singh says, “I’m in the fray precisely for this reason. Instead of working for the Sikh community, SGPC has become a ground for politics.”

Besides running one public school in Una that was opened about two years ago, SGPC has alienated the community here as it has not opened any professional college or good hospital in the state,” he said.

Even the local sangat here at Nalagarh, out of its own funds runs a school and has completed a building in which a small hospital is to be opened,” he added.

Bhinder, the SAD candidate refutes that any discrimination was being meted out to Himachal. He said that a school by spending Rs 2.5 crore had been started, and should suitable land be made available, SGPC plans to open a medical or engineering college.

He said that there was no demand for a separate state SGPC here as the committee was spending much more than what the donations were received at the gurudwara’s run by them in the state.

Even the salaries of Granthis and Raghis were better than the government scale, claimed Bhinder.

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