By Our Staff Reporter
LOS ANGELES, Ca.; The general body meeting of Hollywood Gurdwara which was held here on Sunday afternoon to decide the mode of election for the next term of Gurdwara Committee ended up in a mayhem amidst threats, manhandling and severe beatings.
The meeting which was attended by about 500 strong congregations, started peacefully. The President of the Gurdwara Committee, S. Amolak Singh who placed. The agenda spoke for about ten minutes and introduced a resolution favoring elimination of elections in favor of selections.
At the conclusion of his address, the President called for a vote on the resolution by show of hands in. favor of the resolution. Only 35-40 persons responded and started raising slogans.
At this point some members including Dr. A.S. Marwah, the founding President of the Gurdwara, S. Lakhbir Singh Chima, a former President, and Dr. Gumam: Singh Pannu pleaded to be heard before the Sangat was asked to vote. But the President refused to yield and did not give them time to present their views before the Sangat.
Talking to W.S.N. later, S. Amolak Singh defended his action and argued that “it was unnecessary to allow them to express their views”.
Meanwhile a determined and vocal group, backing the management took upon itself to subdue the opponents by intimidating, manhandling and abusing in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib.
The situation worsened when Dr. Arjinder Pal Singh Sekhon, a member of Khalistan Council, intervened and asked his supporters to “silence” the opposition.
At this pandemonium broke out and supporters of the Management ‘were seen pushing and shoving all those who tried to speak against the official line.
At this stage, the representative of W.S.N. was informed by the President, S. Amolak Singh that “the resolution has been passed with a majority vote and the meeting stands adjourned”.
Subsequently, Amolak Singh, President of the Committee, announced that the resolution stands passed. His announcement was strongly contested by a large number of members who protested the strong arm tactics being used by the Management.
This further infuriated the supporters of the management who started attacking anyone questioning the propriety of the proceedings. Fights ensued in the hall including pushing up of ladies. The children were crying, the scene resembled a fish market and all one could hear was shouts and abusive language. Even the person saying the Ardas was distracted by the abusive language and departed from the formal Ardas to express his views on how managements should be elected and left without completing the Ardas.
The beatings continued in the parking lot and on the road until the arrival of a police helicopter and police cars.
Meanwhile, the Vice President administration, Darshan Snigh Chohan condemned the sacrilege and violence and rejected the claim made by President Amolak Singh that the resolution had been passed. He said only 810 percent of those present raised their hands. He also questioned the and strong arm methods used in denying the basic right of the Sangat to elect the management committee.
The General Secretary of the Committee, Gurdial Singh Randhawa was also seen publically endorsing the views of the Vice-president, Darshan Singh Chohan, but preferred not to be formally quoted for reasons best known to him:
However, on Monday afternoon, President Amolak Singh contacted W.S.N. representative and claimed that “90 percent of the members voted in favor of the resolution”. He also denied the charges of disorderly scenes in the Gurdwara Sahib.
S. Harbans Singh Saraon, a dedicated Sikh, condemned the strong arm tactics used by a group to remain in power. He said the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib by the persons claiming to be Puran GurSikhs is deplorable and the Sikh community will never forgive such opportunists.