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Fremont Gurdwara Management Raise $900,000 Bond to Postpone Elections

The Fremont, California Gurdwara was founded in 1980 by Hardey Singh Grewal and Sant [spiritual teacher or guide] Narn Singh.

The Argus, Dec. 17, 2002

Leaders of Fremont's Sikh temple posted the $900,000 bond set by a judge to delay a Jan. 12 election that would decide whether they can maintain control of the Bay Area's largest and wealthiest temple. Judge Julia Spain increased the bond from $100,000 earlier this month after the leaders of the temple - or gurdwara - asked that the court-ordered elections be delayed by at least a year while an appeal is heard. The bond is collateral to ensure the leaders don't spend temple money or assets during the appeal process. The civil case was spurred after six other Sikh worshipers claimed to have won positions on the temple's leadership body, the Supreme Council, after a chaotic Mar. election that required police supervision. The election was not legitimate, the courts found, and Spain ordered a new one. The five current leaders had said the large amount of money would be difficult to secure. Two of them are retired, two are truck drivers and one is an insurance broker.

But Gurdial Singh, one of the five leaders, said Monday the money came from supporters who want the religious practices of the temple protected from court interference. 'I don't think any error has been committed in regards to administration (of the temple),' Singh said. 'We followed the rules, but the court says that we should be elected and not selected.' Supporters agreed. 'We should select our people according to religious traditions, not according to the Corporations Code,' said supporter and temple member Jessie Singh, referring to the law used by the courts as a basis for a new election. Meanwhile, the attorney for the other side says only a legitimate election will solve the fighting that has plagued the temple for at least six years. 'The legitimacy of the governance of (the Supreme Council) has been questioned,' attorney Mark Cohen said. 'Now we're going to put everything off for a year, year and a half. This hurts everybody's morale and doesn't help either side.'

The two sides still must determine whether other portions of the court's order will be put on hold as well. One of the biggest concerns is compiling a membership list, which is nearly complete. Spain invalidated the Mar. election because the temple could not prove that a majority of temple members supported the new leadership without a membership list. She ordered that such a list be compiled.