Stockton: California: S. Ganga Singh Dhillon’s removal from President ship of WSOUSA came as a surprise to most Sikhs in America and Canada and their reactions were quite diverse. Some endorsed the National Council decision, others expressed reservations and apprehensions.

  1. Hardam Singh Azad, Chairman Sikh Association of America felt that the action is likely to be interpreted as the “inability of the Sikhs in developing a credible organization.” He condemned the action of young men who had assaulted Gen, Bhullar and felt that they were either misguided or misused. We need to be careful. He considered the decision of the council as hasty. “It (action) would be perceived that the organization had not very carefully considered all the aspects while appointing S. Ganga Singh as President, that is why it had to resort to such extreme step just after about five months of the appointment,” he said. He also felt that the action had not set a very good precedent. Asked if the action will strengthen or weaken the organization, he said that it will have an adverse effect. About its impact in India, he said that the press will play it up as another instance of Sikhs failing to properly organize themselves.
  2. Sukhmandir Singh, President North America Akali Dal, said that he would not like to comment at this stage. In reply to a question about its impact upon the organization he said that all depends upon the inner strength of the organization. “As an outsider I have no knowledge of its inner functioning,” he added. “The impact will depend upon the totality of the situation,” he concluded.
  3. Kuldeep Singh from Detriot felt that S. Ganga Singh should have been given opportunity to explain his position. About its impact upon the organization and in India, he said that initially it will have an adverse effect but as the people would come to know of the whole truth, the organization will gain or lose accordingly. “India of course, would always be happy to find the Sikhs quarrelling among themselves,” he said.
  4. Ranbir Singh Sekhon from Fresno said that all Sikh leaders should be accountable for their actions. He, however, felt that the National Council should have circulated all the charges against S. Ganga Singh to all WSO members. S. Ganga Singh’s reaction should also have been taken before proceeding with the removal action. He also said that only time will tell whether it will strengthen or weaken the organization. As far impact in India is concerned he said, any internal bickering among the Sikh leaders will have negative impact there.

Giani Joginder Singh of Canada, a senior stalwart in Sikh politics, however, felt that the actions of S. Ganga Singh were hurting the credibility of the organization. “No organization can thrive without credibility. “Caesar’s wife must be above board,” he said, In reply to the question whether the action will strengthen or weaken the organization, he said, it will certainly strengthen it, because the message is clear that Sikhs are not prepared to tolerate any laxity or betrayal of the cause by any leader, whosoever he may be. “It will show that Sikhs are serious and they mean business,” he said in reply to a question about its impact in India.

  1. Amarjit Singh Buttar, a Director of Sikh Association of America, said that he disapproved of the assault on Gen. Bhullar which was obviously inspired and instigated by unfriendly elements. “This was not the way to resolve difference, if any,” he said. He felt that Sikhs were plagued with selfish leadership. He quoted from James Michael’s forward note in the Book, “Vengeance” in which he says that “Sikhs are an admirable people ill served by a rotten leadership.” Asked whether the action would strengthen or weaken the organization he said that those who know S. Ganga Singh would say, ‘good riddance’ and man in the street would say Is it new for the Sikh leaders to indulge in internacine quarrels? He also felt that no individual was indispensable and Sikh organizations health is not affected by the fate of individuals.

Article extracted from this publication >>  December 27, 1985