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Sant Samaj, Damdami Taksal, Nihang bodies, Chief Khalsa Diwan set out deadline for SGPC

Withdraw Affidavit or Face Us In The Court: Sant Samaj

CHOWK MEHTA: Striking a major blow in favor of saving Sikhism from vested interests that have come to entrench themselves within the SGPC, the entire Sant Samaj, Nihang Singh organizations, Damdami Taksal, Chief Khalsa Diwan and many other panthic outfits came together in an unprecedented manner and collectively served the SGPC and the Akali Dal a seven-day ultimatum to withdraw the highly objectionable affidavit defining Sehajdhari Sikh in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In a meeting at Damdami Taksal headquaters Gurdwara Gurdarshan Parkash Chowk Mehta held after the Barsi of Sant Baba Takhur Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale, attended by scores of Sikh holy men, religious leaders and representatives of many organizations, a resolution was read out setting one week's deadline for the SGPC, its president Avtar Singh Makkar and the ruling Akali Dal of Parkash Singh-Sukhbir Singh Badal to withdraw the affidavit that made a distinction between Sehajdhari Sikh and Keshadhari.

The meeting also decided that all constituent members of the Sant Samaj, Damdami Taksal, Nihang Singh bodies and Chief Khalsa Diwan shall become a party to the ongoing case and will have their own counsel to represent them.

Among those who attended the meeting, held under the Presidence of Gurmat Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj President Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa Mukhi Damdami Taksal, Baba Bidhi Chand Tarna Dal, Sant Baba Daya Singh Ji, Tarna Dal Mukhi Sant Baba Makhan Singh, Sant Hari Singh of Harianvelanwale, Sant Baba Bhupinder Singh Rara Sahib Jarg Wale, Sant Baba Sukhchain Singh Khalsa Dharampure Wale, Baba Sewa Singh Rampurkhera, Sant Baba Baljit Singh Khalsa of Gurdwara Dadu Sahib, Sant Baba Daler Singh Kheri Wale, Sant Ranjit Singh Dhadrian Wale, Sant Paramjit Singh Mahalpur, Baba Avtar Singh Badhnikalan, Sant Manjit Singh Harkhowal, Bhai Mohkam Singh of Damdami Taksal, Singh Sahib Bhai Jasbir Singh former Jathedar of Akal Takht Sahib, Sant Baba Balbir Singh Ratwara Wale, Jathedar Wassan Singh, Jathedar Tarlok Singh Khiala, Sant Hari Singh Zira, Bhai Jagjit Singh Gaba, Nihang Singh Jathebandi Sant Baba Surjit Singh Sant Baba Joginder Singh, representazive of Jalandhar Singh Sabhas, Baba Surjit Singh Mehron and Giani Hardip Singh.

Sikh affairs expert Gurcharanjit Singh Lamba briefed the gathering for a long time, read out the documents and cleared many doubts before the collective decision was reached.

Will Sikh crowds throng the High Court?

With the Sant Samaj coming out stromngly and openly against the SGPC affidavit, and the decision being clear that Sants, Damdami Taksal and other organizations will become a party to the case and take a stance against the SGPC affidavit, the Punjab and Haryana High Court may soon witness unprecedented scenes.

Informed sources within the Sant Samaj said the leadership may give a call to the sangat to reach the High Court on the next date of hearing, January 16.

Any such call will galvanise the community like never before because here is a situation in which the SGPC has clearly come to represent the shrewd and crooked point of view of the RSS-BJP lobby and is speaking against the collective panthic view. There is little that anyone could object to the Sikhs thronging the courts as earlier the administration had failed to stop the Sirsa fraudster baba from bringing his supporters in thousands to the court.

Punjab Advocate General Hardev Singh Mattewal will be also facing the heat as he has been seen as the person, along with Sikh History Research Board chairperson Anurag Singh, who was behind the move at the instance of Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal. Sukhbir Singh Badal has been continuously trying to secularise the party, opening it to all kinds of infiltration at the ideological level from saffron partner.

“If the Sant Samaj and other organizations are put in a situation where they will have to oppose the SGPC on a Sikh community’s internal issue in a court of law, then the entire responsibility will be that of the SGPC which has messed up the definition of Sejahdhari Sikh,†said the resolution passed by the gathering.

The affidavit was submitted by the SGPC after considering a report of the seven Sikh scholars handpicked by SGPC president but later some scholars exposed the conspiracy by revealing that expert committee had decided a completely different definition of Sehajdhari than was submitted through affidavit by the SGPC.

Shockingly, even SGPC general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur and Secretary Dalmegh Singh had signed a totally different definition. Both Bhaur and Dalmegh Singh were among the seven member expert panel. Of the seven, six members had signed the definition which was overturned and changed. The one member who had not signed the definition decided by other experts was Anurag Singh, chairperson of Sikh History Research Board and considered close to Avtar Singh Makkar. Expert panel members Gurcharanjit Singh Lamba, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, Principal Suba Singh of Shaheed Sikh Missionary College, Sukhdev Singh Bhaur and Dalmegh Singh have publicly declared their opposition to the SGPC affidavit.

SGPC president Makkar was at the receiving end during his visit to the United States last week where he could not satisfy Sikh leaders and activists as to why a distorted definition was submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court which opens floodgates of religion to the non-Sikhs.

SGPC may take back affidavit

Varinder Walia

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 27

The emergency meeting of SGPC Executive, scheduled to be held here tomorrow, may withdraw the affidavit filed in the Punjab and Haryana High court with regard to the definition of Sehajdhari.

The emergency meeting has been necessitated following a seven-day ultimatum served on the SGPC by Gurmat Sidhant Parchark Sant Samaj, Nihang and various Sikh organisations. The ultimatum deadline is December 31.

Since the SGPC stand isolated on the definition of Sehajdhari filed by the secretary of the committee in the court, the emergency meeting might suggest that the affidavit should be filed afresh after consulting Sikh intellectuals. Sikh organisations, including the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, American Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Sant Samaj and radical Sikh bodies had already rejected the definition.

A meeting, held at Chowk Mehta on December 24 and presided over by Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, chief, Damdami Taksal, had condemned the SGPC for "distorting" the definition of the Sehajdhari, circumventing the spirit of "panthic decisions" taken on May 12, 1938 and 1973, which already concluded that only a "keshdhari" having faith in Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh tenets could be a Sikh. The meeting had cautioned that if the SGPC failed to withdraw the affidavit from the court, they would become party in the case. Certain members of a panel of experts had alleged the SGPC ignored the suggestions made by them.

Sehajdhari Issue

SGPC to file fresh affidavit in court

Challenges HC locus standi in Sikh matters

Varinder Walia

Tribune News Service

SGPC chief Avtar Singh addresses the media in Amritsar on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Amritsar , December 28

In a volte-face, the emergency meeting of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee executive committee today decided to stick to the definition of Sikh mentioned in the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 according to which only a Kesadhari could be a 'Sehajdhari'.

The meeting, chaired by by SGPC chief Avtar Singh also decided to constitute a three- member committee comprising of Raghujit Singh Virk, Kewal Singh Badal and Rajinder Singh Mehta , senior vice-president, junior vice- president and executive committee member respectively to fix responsibility of those responsible for submitting 'distorted' definition of 'Sehajdharii in Punjab and Haryana High Court. The three-member Inquiry committee would submit the report to the SGPC president within two days for taking strict action against the erring officials.

The affidavit was filed by Harbeant Singh, secretary, SGPC who had been in the news for getting job on the basis of 'fake certificate' of matriculation. Though he (Harbeant Singh) was sacked during the tenure of the presidentship of Gurcharn Singh Tohra but he was re-instated after his (Tohra's) death.

After the meeting, SGPC president said the Shiromani Committee would also challenge the locus standi of the Court to 'interfere' in the internal matters of the Sikhs. The SGPC president said as per Sikh Gurdwara Act the Sehajdhari is a person who performs ceremonies according to Sikh rites; who does not use tobacco or kutha (halal meat) in any form. The Act further reads Sehajdhari is a person who is not a 'Patit' (apostate) and who can recite 'Mul Manter'. The Sikh Gurdwara Act further says 'Patit' means a person who being a Kesadhari Sikh trims or shaves his beard or Keshas or who after taking Amrit commits any 'Kurhits'. President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Paramjit Singh Sarna sought resignation of the SGPC chief for submitting wrong definition of the Sehajdhari in the HC. However, the SGPC chief alleged Sarna had been openly supporting the Congress party which was responsible for Delhi riots and Operation Bluestar. On the other hand, the DSGMC president said the Shiromani Akali Dal, led by Sukhbir Singh Badal had alliance with the BJP which instigated Indira Gandhi, the then PM to launch Bluestar as mentioned in the political biography of L.K.Advani, PM candidate of the BJP.

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Nonsence....... Sikh Sangat...... ??

SGPC sticks to old definition of Sehajdhari

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3

Members of the SGPC executive, led by its president Avtar Singh, today laid down the definition of a Sehajdhari Sikh.

Sticking to the definition given in the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925, the committee members have stated that Sehajdhari Sikhs are those who are born in non-Sikh families, but follow the tenets of Sikhism. A Sehajdhari Sikh is thus a non-Sikh who performs ceremonies according to Sikh rites; who does not use tobacco, does not consume halal meat in any form; who is not a “patit†and who recites the mulmantra of Guru Granth Sahib.

In the resolution passed during a meeting held this evening, the SGPC pointed out that the definition of Sehajdhari given in the Section 2 (10-A) of the Gurdwara Act states that the word “sehajdhari†consists of two words “sehaj†(slowly) and “dhari†(adopt a religious path) and hence these are those novices who slowly move on the path of Sikhism to adopt its doctrine, ethics and tenets.

A Sehajdhari, therefore, is one who has entered the path of Sikhism and he will continue to be a Sehajdhari Sikh till he fully accepts the moral and spiritual vows of Sikhism, to be called a practicing Sikh. The SGPC resolution also made it clear that when a Sehajdhari Sikh becomes a keshdhari Sikh, but he chooses to trim his body hair, he will not be a Sehajdhari Sikh. Similarly, if a person born into a Sikh family (and is a Sikh), but chooses to disrespect his keshdhari roop he will not turn into a Sehajdhari Sikh but become a “patitâ€.

The SGPC would be filing an affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the basis of the resolution passed today.

Taking up a petition filed by five students who had been denied admissions to MBBS course in a SGPC-run medical college on the ground that they were either trimming their beards or plucking their eyebrows, the full bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had on September 29 directed the SGPC to define a Sikh. The next date of hearing of the case is December 8.

Also pending in the court is a petition filed by the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, challenging a notification issued by the Union of India, whereby the voting rights of the Sehajdhari Sikhs had been taken away.

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SGPC to submit another affidavit on 'sehajdharis' in HC

Amritsar | Sunday, Dec 28 2008 IST

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today decided to submit another affidavit in Punjab and Haryana High Court to clarfy the definition of 'Sehajdhari Sikh'. During an executive meeting held here today, the SGPC took a strong view of the controversy raised over the 'Sehajdhari Sikh' issue and decided to set up a three-member committee to identify the main players responsible for kicking up a storm in this regard, SGPC sources said here today. The committee, comprising SGPC senior Vice President R S Virk, SGPC junior Vice President Kewal Singh, SGPC executive member R S Mehta, would submit the report within two days after which the SGPC would take strong action against those found guilty, the sources said.

The SGPC had earlier filed an affidavit in Punjab and Haryana High Court with regard to the definition of the word 'Sehajdhari Sikh' in a matter under consideration in the petitions of Sehajdhari Sikh Federation and a Medical student Gurleen Kaur.

Gurleen Kaur was denied admission to the MBBS course from Sikh quota in the SGPC minority institution Guru Ram Das Medical College in Amritsar as she plucked her eyebrows.

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‘Sikh who trims beard, hair becomes outcast’

Ajay Bharadwaj

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 01:45 IST

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has said that any Sikh who trims his beard or cuts hair automatically becomes an outcast. SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar told mediapersons in Amritsar on Sunday that any person, even if he is born in a Sikh family, would no longer be a Sikh if he cut his hair. And a “sehajdhari†Sikh could only be one who sported hair and had not yet baptised himself after partaking “amritâ€, he said.

Men or women with trimmed hair, moustaches and beard are neither Sikh nor sehajdari (not baptised), though born in a Sikh family, Makkar said. Men and women who are baptised and recite Sikh religious scriptures are Amritdhari (baptised) Sikhs, eligible to contest SGPC election and hold religious posts. Non-baptised men and women with uncut hair, who follow the remaining tenets of Sikhism, are sehajdari Sikhs, not eligible to contest SGPC election or hold religious posts.

They would, however, be eligible to caste votes in the SGPC general election, Makkar said. Sehajdhari Sikhs should recite “moolamantra paath†(recitation of basic prayer) and abstain from liquor, cigarette and halal meat, he said.

The SGPC executive deliberated on the definition of a Sikh on Saturday after widespread protests among Sikhs against an affidavit by it in the high court. The affidavit was contrary to recommendations made by a seven-member committee constituted by SGPC after a court asked it to define whether or not a person who cuts his hair or shaves his beard is a sehajdhari Sikh even if he follows the teachings of Sikh gurus and abides by all other tenets laid down in Sikhism under the All-India Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.

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Can anyone briefly sum up the main points sorrounding the issue? Im aware theres a lot of discussion on sikhsangat but its too hard to browse through some of the nonsense and find educated posts.

My interpretation from casually browsing the forums and articles (maybe completely wrong, mind):

SGPC states that if an amritdari breaks their rehat they are no longer a Sikh - not even a sehajdhari sikh. But anyone else can call them selves a Sikh, if they only just memorise parts of bani (mool mantar) and declare it publicly.

The main issue for SGPC is to try and keep Sikh classed as a minority in Panjab State so they can keep their reserved places in public institutions eg schools, unis, state parliament.

How on earth these politicians can decided whether I am a Sikh or not, I just cannot understand??!!

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