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Sahaj-dharis Claim Irregularities in S.G.P.C. Electoral Rolls


The Times of India, Chandigarh, Aug. 24, 2003

Alleging large-scale irregularities in preparation of the electoral rolls for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.) elections, Sahaj-dhari Sikh Federation [S.S.F.] president P.S. Ranu came down heavily on the Gurdwara Judicial Commission [G.J.C.] for keeping a substantial number of sahaj-dhari [unorthodox] Sikhs out of the voters' list. Talking to mediapersons here on Saturday, Ranu said a survey conducted by the S.S.F. in 10 villages in the state revealed that at many places non-Sikhs along with sahaj-dharis had been enrolled as kes-dhari [orthodox] Sikh voters. He said the survey covered male voters in 10 villages of prominent S.G.P.C. members, including those of its president Gurcharan Singh Tohra and former presidents Jagdev Singh Talwandi and Kirpal Singh Badungar.

Ranu said that while the Gurdwara Commission voters' list carried no names of sahaj-dhari Sikhs in Tohra, Talwandi and Badungar villages, the survey found that there are 259 potential voters in Tohra village, 404 in Talwandi, and 15 in Badungar. In all these villages, sahaj-dharis were found to have been enrolled as kes-dhari Sikhs. Ranu cited the instance of two villages, Kote Rola and Paden in Ludhiana district where Hindus and Christians were found to have been inducted into the S.G.P.C. voters' list as kes-dhari Sikhs.

While the voters' list released by the G.J.C. has enrolled eight lakh sahaj-dhari voters, Ranu claimed that their number would be at least 10 times more. He blamed the state government and the G.J.C. for allegedly not undertaking the task of preparing electoral rolls meticulously. He said voter forms were distributed only among supporters of the Akali groups and at many places fake votes had also been prepared. He said the S.S.F. had brought the matter to the notice of the G.J.C. and demanded inclusion of sahaj-dharis in voters' list.