Days after the Supreme Court upheld the validity of a law that gives Sikhs in Haryana exclusive control to manage the gurdwaras in state, an infighting broke out in the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) Sunday with a former president of the body claiming that he has been re-elected to the post. The incumbent president, however, said he still retains the post.
Jagdish Singh Jhinda, a former president of HSGMC, Sunday claimed that the committee has again appointed him president by removing incumbent Baljit Singh Daduwal from the post. Jhinda claimed that 33 out of the total 35 members of the HSGMC voted in his favour to appoint him as the new president of the body that manages gurdwaras in the state. According to Jhinda, 26 members participated in a meeting held in a gurdwara at Kaithal while seven others supported him while joining the meeting through video conferencing. He claimed that the members were upset with Daduwal because he was exercising “dictatorship”.
Rejecting the allegations, Daduwal claimed that Jhinda has support of only 16 members out of the total strength of the committee, which currently is 39. “Jhinda is counting those members too in his support who have already been removed from the committee and have been replaced by others by the state government. I had called a meeting of the general house of the committee on August 1 but the Jhinda faction did now allow it to take place while approaching the Punjab and Haryana High Court,” Daduwal said, adding he is still the elected president of the HSGMC. He said there is a set procedure to remove an elected office-bearer.
After remaining involved in Punjab’s religious and political affairs for decades, Daduwal had entered into management of gurdwaras in Haryana by getting elected as president of HSGMC in August 2020. Daduwal had then defeated his nearest rival Jagbir Singh Khalsa by a margin of just two votes. Jhinda, who was then the outgoing HSGMC president, had backed Khalsa in the election. The election was held as Jhinda had resigned from the post of president citing health reasons. Jhinda had played a key role in formation of the HSGMC while launching a campaign in 2001. A founder president of the HSGMC, Jhinda led the committee from 2014 to 2020 as its chief.
The infighting in the HSGMC has intensified at a time when the committee is trying to take control of the gurdwaras in Haryana from the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Management Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).
A twist in the internal politics of the HSGMC had taken place in May this year too. Then, former senior vice-president of the committee Didar Singh Nalvi, who had backed Daduwal in 2020 elections, launched a campaign against him seeking his removal. He blamed Daduwal for committing violations of several rules. Nalvi claimed that the 18- month long tenure of Daduwal had ended on February 12 this year.
On the other hand, Daduwal had claimed that Nalvi was upset with him because he was not given any post in the new executive. He also claimed that the executive-led by him has a tenure of 2.5 years stating that it is now a regular body not an ad hoc panel. Daduwal, who is known for his anti-Badal family stance, had blamed Nalvi for acting on the behest of Badals.
At Nada Sahib, Khattar hails SC decision on HSGMC
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday visited Nada Sahib Gurdwara and congratulated the people of the Sikh community of the state on the decision of the Supreme Court to constitute a separate Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee for Haryana.
Khattar said that now all the 52 gurdwaras will work under the supervision of Haryana Gurdwara Management Committee in the spirit of harmony and continue to serve the society.