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Sehajdhari Sikhs demand voting rights in SGPC polls

Chandigarh, November 20, 2008
Express News Service

Ahead of the November 22 general house meeting of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation has urged the panel not to create a minority community within a minority community by disallowing Sehajdharis from voting.

In an open letter to the SGPC, federation chief Dr P S Ranu said, “Sehajdhari Sikhs are an integral part of the community. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had recently asked the SGPC to define Sehajdhari Sikhs and file an affidavit.”

On the recommendations of the SGPC in 2003, the Centre had disallowed Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting for the religious body, as they are non-baptised. Addressing newspersons, Dr Ranu said the voting rights of Sehajdharis were taken back by the SGPC at the behest of the Shiromani Akali Dal for vested interests.

He threatened that the federation would boycott SAD candidates in the coming Lok Sabha elections if their rights were not restored. He said the SGPC has already taken two months to decide on the definition of Sehajdharis, who constitute around 85 per cent of Sikhs in the world