ALAMGIR, Punjab, India: The United Akali Dal split vertically on the issue of the expulsion of the Five Head Priests by the Executive Committee of the S.G.P.C. This expected move came at the conclusion of a presidium and council of UAD meeting held on Sunday. The meeting expelled Mr. Shaminder Singh, MP, Mr. Manjit Singh Calcutta, General Secretary of the party, and five executive members of the Shiromani Gurdwata Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) from the primary membership of the party for a period of six year.

The expelled SGPC members Ar. Ujjagar Singh Rangretta, Mal Singh Ghuman, SGPC secretary, Mr. Shiv Singh pur, Mr. Hari Singh Arewala and  Mr. Puran Singh Josh.

The meeting called upon Sikh masses not to have any truck with the “government agents”.

The UAD presidium and council, which met here on Sunday under the chairmanship of Baba Joginder Singh, father of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, decided on the expulsion because these leaders had allegedly connived with the Union Home Minister, Mr. Buta Singh, who was earlier excommunicated from the Sikh Panth to remove the Akal Takht Jathedar, Bhai Jasbir Singh and other Sikh head priests from their posts. The meeting felt that a handful of persons had no night to sack the head’ priests whose appointment had been approved by the Sarbat Khalsa, Sikh traditions and the SGPC general house. They removal at a time when the Sikh quom was progressing under the leadership of Mr. Jasbir Singh after wandering about for some years, was a mean stratagem carried out at the behest of the government to damage Sikh prestige and to sidetrack Sikhs from their right path.

The meeting was attended by nine members of the UAD council and presidium out of the total of 18 while six council members are stated to be in jail at the moment. Besides Baba Joginder Singh, the other presidium member present was Bhai Gajja Singh who moved the resolutions at the meeting which were passed unanimously, the council members present were Sant Ajit singh, Cap. Harcharan Singh Rode, Bhai Jagwinder Singh and Bhai Ranjit Singh (both from All India Sikh Students Federation), Bhai Sadhu Singh of Babbar Khalsa and Bhai Baldev Singh of Khalistan Liberation Force.

Mr. Gurtej Singh, former IAS, was represented by Jathear Baldev Singh Singh Lang. Mr. Sucha Singh Chhotepur and Mr. Jagdev Singh Khudian was special invitees.

The meeting unanimously appointed cap. Harcharan Singh Rode, brother of Sant Jarnail Singh, at UAD General Secretary in place of Mr. Manjit Singh Calcutta.

Through a resolution, the meeting condemned the SGPC executive for its action to remove the five Head Priests who are supreme Sikh personalities, to involve them in a controversy, to divide the Sikhs and create civil war conditions among Sikhs at the behest of the Government.

At the meeting the party expressed full faith in the religious leadership of Akal Takht Jathedar Jasbir Singh, Damdama Sahib, head priest, Jaswant Singh, Takht Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar, Bhai Swinder Singh, Akal Takht Head Priest, Bhai Kashmira Singh and Golden Temple head granthi, Giani Purgan Singh.

Through another resolution, the meeting opposed the government move to disband the SGPC and replace it with a board. Any such attempt would compel the Akali Dal to launch a Morcha similar to the gurukabagh Morcha in pre independence India, the meeting warned. It also condemned the creation of a corridor around the Golden Temple complex. The meeting took a strong notice of the criticism of Damdami Taksal by some SGPC members and landed the historic role of the Taksal.

The meeting appealed to the Sikh intellectuals, writers and all sections of the community to make a steadfast contribution to allay the tragedy of Sikhs at the Government’s policies.

Condemning the Operation Black Thunder, the meeting warned the Government against its attempts to eliminate Sikhs through fake police encounters, repression and looting of Sikh families, dishonoring Sikh ladies and detention of many Sikhs at Jodhpur and imprisonment of UAD chief, Simranjit Singh Mann, and Army deserters without trial. Such communal actions carried out by the Government in order to win over Hindu votes would only worsen the situation in Punjab which is already simmering on a dump of gunfire, the meeting warned. It also criticized the ordinance separating religion from politics.

Expressing full faith in the leadership of Mr. Simranjit Singh Mann, the meeting recognized the contribution of the AISSF convener, Mr. Gurjit Singh and termed the acting conveners, Mr. Daljit Singh, as a Panthic gem.

The next meeting of UAD presidium and council would be held on July 10 at Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran at Ludhiana.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 8, 1988