CHICAGO, Il.: Dr. Manohar Singh Grewal, Dr. Naunihal Singh and Dr. Harbans Singh Sraon were reelected President, Director Administration and Director Finance respectively for the next term at the annual World Sikh Organization meeting held here on June 27, 1987 in the local Gurdwara premises. Earlier the delegates Assembly constituted a five member nominating committee comprising S. Didar Singh Bains, Dr. Gurinder Singh Grewal, S. Jagjit Singh Mangat, Dr. Karamjit Singh Rai and S. Amarjit Singh Buttar to recommend names for the 31 member National Council. Their recommendations were unanimously accepted after a prolonged discussion on the constitutional propriety of recommending the names of some delegates who were not present in the meeting which was resolved when the responsibility of the absent members’ consent was undertaken individually by certain members.

The nominating Committee, however, failed to develop consensus over recommending a slate for the three main offices. In the General Body, the attempt to manipulate another term for the present incumbents was fiercely contested. Some members insisted that the democratic process must be followed and the unhealthy practice of bypassing the constitution should be dispensed with. Finally, it was decided to follow the constitutional procedures and nominations were invited for the three offices. For the office of the President, the names of Dr. Manohar Singh Grewal and S. Gurcharan Singh Dhillon were proposed. But Mr. Dhillon withdrew his name and Dr. Manohar Singh Grewal was declared elected. For the offices of Director Administration and Director Finance, Dr. Naunihal Singh and Dr. Harbans Singh Sraon were declared elected as no names were proposed against them.

The morning session opened with the traditional Sikh prayer (Ardas) followed by a welcome address by Dr. Balwant Singh Hansra (Chicago). After the welcome remarks, S. Didar Singh Bains, President W.S.O. (International) thanked the Chicago Sangat for hosting the convention and exhorted the delegates to work like a family. He also pointed out that to go forward “we must identify and remove shortcomings in our functioning”.

Dr. Manohar Singh Grewal, President, presented the progress report, outlining the important activities during the past year like sending a fact finding mission to Punjab, organizing protest demonstrations, creation of Trust Fund and also restated the short-term and long term goals of the organization.

In this session delegates expressed their views on wide ranging issues concerning the organization and the Sikh struggle for Khalistan. S, Daljit Singh Jawa (Kansas) while pointing out the flaws in the functioning of the W.S.O., suggested improved public relations, appointment of project officers with specific tasks and laid emphasis on the need to develop World Sikh News into a Sikh national spokesman. Dr. Surinder Singh Chohan (Cleveland) emphasized mobilization of Congressmen and Senators by telling them the truth about the Sikh problem. S. Harjit Singh Chawla (Chicago) and S. Surinder Singh Kalra (Chicago) also expressed their views.

In the evening session, Dr. Gurinder Singh Grewal and S. Gurcharan Singh Dhillon made an impassioned plea for securing the release of the two innocent young Sikhs arrested at a New Jersey gas station. Dr. Grewal said that their arrest was politically motivated and their extradition was being sought by the Indian government to tell the Sikhs that no place was safe for them. “We must thwart such ugly moves of the Indian government”, he said. Mr. Dhillon gave details of the distinguished academic careers of the two arrested youths and their contribution to the Sikh struggle as Sikh Student Federation activities. Regional coordinators presented reports of their activities. Dr. Sulakhan Singh Dhillon enumerated the efforts of the Bay Area chapter in monitoring international media, participation in Sikh Conference and dinner discussion with Dr. Rajni Kothari. Sukhjinder Singh Bajwa (Boston) mentioned among other activities the coordination of Boston Chapter in securing help for the families of Sikh soldiers, in staging rallies, organizing blood donation and serving of food to the homeless. He regretted that no efforts were being made in involving the second generation Sikhs in “our programs”.

  1. Bhajan Singh Gill (New York) called upon the Sikhs to boycott Hindu business concerns in the same way as Hindus had boycotted Sikh business concerns in Delhi and other Indian towns. He also informed the delegate about his meeting with Dr. Gurpartap Singh Birk after their sentencing in New Orleans. Reacting to sentencing, Dr. Birk said, “What are a few years in jail as compared to 60 years of life on horsebacks by the brave Sikhs of the eighteenth century”.

Dr. Naunihal Singh described himself as a “paper-pusher” only and thanked the delegates for their love and affection.

  1. Gurcharan Singh Dhillon presented an elaborate report of activities covering the whole of California especially in mobilizing Congressmen and Senators. Giving the background for the creation of Sikh Defense Fund, he referred to the distinguished academic credentials of the two young men, Ranjit Singh Gill and Sukhminder Singh Sandhu, who were arrested by the F.B.I. from a New Jersey gas station.

Dr. Balwant Singh Hansra (Chicago) briefly narrated the efforts of the Chicago Sikhs in mobilizing support for the Sikhs and mentioned about the Sikh support to various Congressmen in 1986 elections particularly to John Porter, Bill Lipinsky and Henry Hyde, a dinner in honor of Senator Simmons. He also mentioned about Chicago sangat’s help to the freedom fighters. He specially praised the role of Brigadier Iqbal Singh, Rani Pavittar Singh and Dr. Ranbir Singh Sandhu in advocating the Sikh cause through books, videos and personal contacts. He also talked about the need to participate in July 4th celebrations and informed that Rajinder Singh Mago was in charge of the coming Sikh participation in the July 4th function in Chicago. At the delegate’s session, resolutions were adopted condemning the arrest of Sikh young men by the F.B.I. and pledging to pursue their case vigorously. Through another resolution, W.S.O. committed itself to support and honor all directives issued at the Akal Takht for the creation of an independent Sikh State call Khalistan.

Following is the list of 31 members National Council for the next term:

  1. Jagjit S. Mangat New York S. Baldev Singh New York
  2. Naunihal Singh New York Mrs. Harinder Kaur New York S. Bhajan S. Gill New York
  3. Labh Singh Bhangu New York S. Kirpal S. Nijhar Buffalo
  4. Gurinder S. Grewal Stockton S. Manjeet S. Sidhu Stockton S. Hardyal S. Dhatt Stockton S. Didar S. Bains Yuba City
  5. Dilbagh S. Bains Yuba City S. Gumam S. Pamma Yuba City S. Harbhajan S. Sandhu Yuba City S. Baldev S. Sangha Yuba City S. Sulkhan S. Dhillon Berkeley S. Harbans S. Sraon L.A.
  6. Gurcharan S. Dhillon Sac.
  7. Bakhshish Singh Sacramento S. Jagjit Singh Sidhu New Jersey S. Sant Parkash S. Cheema N.J. S. Amarjit S. Buttar Vernon
  8. Karamjit S. Rai South Bend S. Balwant S. Hansra Chicago S. Harjap S. Sangha Chicago
  9. Rajbir Singh Chicago
  10. Manohar S. Grewal Boston S. Surinder S. Chauhan Cleveland S. Daljit S. Jawa Topeka
  11. Ranbir S. Sekhon Fresno
  12. Lakhmir S. Chima L.A.

Article extracted from this publication >>  July 3, 1987