DSGMC crisis: Yet another Badals controlled Sikh institution crashes

Chandigarh, October 26: Yet another Sikh institution dominated by the Shiromani Akali Dal has landed in crisis and that body is the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

This second most important elected  constitutional body of the Sikhs ostensibly for the management of shrines controlled by  the Badal family, mainly Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, has hit the roadblock due to strong internal differences.

The differences came to the fore with the handing over of the charge by its general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa to the joint secretary. Significantly, Sirsa is closely associated with Sukhbir. The Delhi gurdwara committee is headed by Manjit Singh GK. Sirsa has revolted against Manjit.

Earlier, it was Manjit Singh who had handed over the charge for a few days to the vice-president raising many eye-brows in the context of discontent within the Akali ranks.

It is too well known a secret that just like in other Sikh institutions in Punjab, this body too gets directions from time to time from above.

Going by the information reaching here, the main issue is rampant corruption and mismanagement despite this control. The DSGMC has virtually gone bankrupt.

The allegations of corruption and favouritism have been repeatedly levelled against its president by some members.  This includes making payments to some bogus companies in the name of some family members.

 The situation that had been developing for some time precipitated as Manjit managed to usurp some powers over administrative matters pertaining to the employees recently. Certain decisions taken by Sirsa as the general secretary have been reversed by Manjit.

There is, however, another aspect that is relevant in this power tussle.

Two interviews given by Manjit to two papers in Punjab and Chandigarh can’t be overlooked.

The first interviewed appeared on September 9 last. Replying to a question on sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari, he said, “This (sacrilege) is our Bluestar. Even if we are not at fault, the blame is on us”.

On disconnect between the Akali leadership and the Panthic thought, he said, “One reason is the generation gap in the Akali Dal. Senior Akali Dal leaders feel they are in the backseat, while the new generation does not have understanding of the Panthic matters”. This line can be interpreted as direct attack on leadership of Sikhbir Singh Badal.

In yet another interview to a Jalandhar paper that appeared on October 12, he saw no wrong in apologising at Akal Takht for what happened on the issue of sacrilege. He also favoured rethinking on approach to Panthic tradition from which the present leadership has distanced. He had also raised questions on the style of functioning of the new generation leadership without naming Sukhbir. This was in the context of regaining confidence of the Sikh constituency.

He was echoing the views of the senior party leadership in Punjab several of whom have now expressed disgust publicly with two of them resigning from party posts.

Corruption in the DSGMC and the alleged dictatorial of the president might be one aspect and the same can’t be ignored. However, these allegations were being levelled for the last several months.

The basic issue is the crisis one Sikh institution after the other landing deep in crisis. These institutions can’t be controlled in corporate style.

The SGPC and the DSGMC are not just gurdwara management bodies as they play broader role in the Panthic religio-political domain.

Jagtar Singh



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