Noteworthy News and Analysis from Around the World

In-Depth Coverage of Issues Concerning the Global Sikh Community Including Self-Determination, Democracy, Human Rights, Civil Liberties, Antiracism, Religion, and South Asian Geopolitics

Home | News Analysis Archive | Biographies | Book Reviews | Events | Photos | Links | About Us | Contact Us

Ranu: 80 Per Cent of Kes-dhari Voters Are Sahaj-dhari

This article has been edited for clarity.

The Tribune, Ludhiana and Bhatinda (Punjab, India), Apr. 11, 2003

The S.G.P.C. election process came under suspicion today when Dr. Paramjeet Singh Ranu, president, Sahaj-dhari Sikh Federation, alleged that a majority of the voters enrolled as kes-dharis [orthodox] were in fact sahaj-dharis [unorthodox]. Commenting on the figures stated by the Gurdwara Election Commission in the press regarding kes-dhari voters, Dr. Ranu said his party would challenge the electoral rolls as many relatives of S.G.P.C. members had been enrolled as kes-dhari Sikh voters whereas they were sahaj-dharis. In 1959 when the gurdwaras under the P.E.P.S.U. were brought under the control of the S.G.P.C., Parliament included sahaj-dharis within the definition of voters. The basic requirement for a voter under the Sikh Gurudwara Act, 1925, was unflinching faith in the teachings of the 10 Gurus and Guru Granth Sahib.

On Nov. 30, 2000, the S.G.P.C., under the presidentship of jathedar [high priest] Jagdev Singh Talwandi, passed a resolution to take away the voting right of sahaj-dhari Sikhs in S.G.P.C. elections. Sahaj-dhari Sikhs them claimed to constitute 80 per cent of the world Sikh population and the Sahaj-dhari Sikh Federation was registered under Section 29 (1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, as a political party by the Election Commission of India. The matter was taken to court when S.A.D. (A) challenged the 1959 amendment of the Sikh Gurudwara Act, which had given voting rights to sahaj-dhari Sikhs. The matter is sub judice. Political analysts are of the opinion that in the coming S.G.P.C. elections, sahaj-dhari Sikh voters will be a decisive factor.

The association said that it would challenge the registration of fake votes, although it did not make clear with which forum it would lodge the complaint. The association alleged that relatives of some S.G.P.C. members were sahaj-dharis as they cut their hair, but they had been registered as kes-dhari voters. Dr. Ranu said about 80 per cent of votes registered under the kes-dhari category for the elections of the S.G.P.C. were fake. He said that such persons had taken an oath, while filling the form for registration as voters, that they do not cut their hair. He, however, alleged that many persons had concealed the truth for getting themselves enrolled as voters. He claimed that the figures given in newspapers about the registration of sahaj-dharis as voters for the S.G.P.C. by the Gurudwara Election Commission were not correct. Actually, their number was more than reported.