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Sikh News New President Of SGPC - Avtar Singh Makkar

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Avtar Singh Makkar replaces Jagir Kaur as SGPC chief

Amritsar: Bibi Jagir Kaur was today replaced as Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president by a lesser known Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Avtar Singh Makkar.

Mr Makkar, elected to the SGPC from Ludhiana, was unanmiously elected as the president by the General
House of the SGPC at its meeting held at Teja Singh Samundri Hall in the Golden Temple complex here today.

The name of Mr Makkar was proposed by former SAD minister Sucha Singh Langah and seconded by Jarnail Singh and Makhan Singh.

Mr Makkar, a close confidant of SAD chief Prakash Singh Badal had contested the last assembly polls on an SAD ticket from Ludhiana and lost.

The choice of Mr Makkar was made by Mr Badal after his party's Political Affairs Committee (PAC) and SAD members of the SGPC authorised him to select the nominee to head the Shiromani Committee.

Mr Makkar is the state Vice President of the SAD.

Mr Makkar proved to be the dark
horse edging out two former SGPC chief's- Prof Kirpal Singh Baudngar and the old warhorse Jagdev Singh Talwandi, both of whom were in the race to succeed Bibi Jagir Kaur
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Re: New President of SGPC: Avtar Sing Makkar

Makkar is SGPC chief
Bhaur back as General Secy
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 23

After half a century, an urban Sikh, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, who is considered greenhorn in Sikh politics, became the 38th President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), with a voice vote at the general house of mini parliament of the Sikhs here today. The last urban SGPC chief was legendary Master Tara Singh, who ruled the hearts of Sikh masses for more than four decades.

The development has come as a great setback to Bibi Jagir Kaur, who was removed unceremoniously, and other aspirants, including veteran Akali leaders, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar and Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan who were hopeful of getting the coveted post till the opening of the sealed envelope, sent through the secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Earlier , she had become the first woman president of the SGPC in 1999 during a tussle between Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

The new SGPC chief, known as the “yes-man” of Mr Badal, thanked the party president, who “blessed” him with the coveted post.

In the beginning, the general house witnessed a little acrimonious scenes when Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, leader of the
Panthic Morcha, was not allowed to discuss his agenda items . On this , Mr Panjoli and his associates accused the Sikh clergy of playing a “biased” role. Earlier, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, president of the Sikh Raj Party, supported by SAD (Mann), held a symbolic protest in the SGPC complex for showing indifference to the demands of the Sikh community.

Except for Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, who retained his post of general secretary, most of the SGPC members of the “Tohra group” were seen fuming even as they were not accommodated in the 11-member executive body. Though Mr Raghujit Singh Virk, relative of the SAD chief and resident of Karnal, has been nominated as senior vice-president, the SGPC members from Haryana said their fight to constitute a separate gurdwara parbandhak committee for their state would continue. They said Mr Virk was nominated SGPC member from Punjab and did not represent the Haryana Sikhs. Mr Kewal Singh Badal also retained his post of junior vice-president, while Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, close relative of Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and former acting president of the Shiromani Committee, was not even taken into the executive body.

Those who have been elected as executive members included Jathedar Surjit Singh Gharhi, Mr Suba Singh, Baba Tek Singh, Mr Rajinder Singh Mehta, Mr Santokh Singh, Mr Gurbachan Singh, Mr Daya Singh, Bibi Bhajan Kaur, Mr Gurinderpal Singh Bhatia, Mr Avtar Singh Chakk and Mr Sukhwinder Singh Patti (he was elected SGPC member with the support of the Congress). However, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur and Mr Gurpal Singh Gora, both Badal loyalists were also ousted from the list of the office-bearers.

The new SGPC chief was elected as an SGPC member during the previous elections for the first time from Ludhiana (West). He had lost the previous Assembly elections to Congress candidate, Harnam Dass Johar with more than 13000 votes. Born on January 3, 1943 at Sargodha (now in Pakistan), he studied up to F.A. (non-medical).He has been president of the Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Ludhiana, for more than two decades .

The Panthic circles feel that Mr Makkar has been elected to the coveted post with an eye on the forthcoming Assembly elections to woo the urban voters. This would help to counter the influence of Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, who has lately made deep inroads into the urban turf .

A significant resolution passed by the general house praised Mr Hardev Singh Mattewal for contesting the cases of the Shiromani Committee in the Punjab and Haryana High Court without charging even a penny. Mr Mattewal was instrumental in getting the SGPC-run medical and dental college a status of minority institution. Another resolution sought an immediate release of all Sikhs languishing in various jails of the country.
The SGPC general house unanimously passed resolutions, to start the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service, condemning the discontinuation of financial aid to the educational institutes, and condemning the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Committee for having failed to restore “maryada” in most of the historical gurdwaras there.

Last edited:
Jul 13, 2004
Re: New President of SGPC: Avtar Sing Makkar

Soul_jyot said:
The new SGPC chief, known as the “yes-man” of Mr Badal, thanked the party president, who “blessed” him with the coveted post.
With these kind of people in power, I am not very optimistic about future developments. My personal views.
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
'Godfather' Badal stymies Jagir Kaur's chances

Chandigarh | November 26, 2005 1:15:14 AM IST

Controversies, it seems, are never far from Jagir Kaur, the first woman president of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) - not even when it comes to another man being appointed as her successor.
Clearly, by not allowing her to be re-elected for a third term, senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has once again shown his clout in the SGPC - considered as the mini-parliament of Sikh religion.

Instead, Badal Wednesday chose to put Avtar Singh Makkar, a little known figure in Sikh and state political circles, at the helm of affairs of the Sikh politico-religious body.

Those following Sikh religious affairs in Punjab say that Badal cleverly weighed his options in booting out Jagir Kaur.

First, it was to save himself and his party from any embarrassment in the future if she is found guilty by court for the murder of her own daughter.

Second, he sent out a clear signal to Jagir Kaur and others that anyone not toeing his line could not survive in the Sikh political arena for long.

She was visibly upset Wednesday when she was virtually "dethroned" from the top SGPC post. That the post was given to a little known person, overlooking her claim, must have made her even more annoyed.

More galling, the role of the SGPC president this time is politically crucial with the Punjab assembly poll scheduled for February 2007 and the Akali Dal relying on the SGPC to influence sections of Sikh voters.

Ironically, Jagir Kaur first came into the limelight in March 1999 when Badal handpicked her to be the first woman president of the SGPC.

Since the SGPC came into being in 1920 - to manage the gurudwaras and control other Sikh affairs - no woman had reached the highest post in the body.

Jagir Kaur was forced to resign from the post just a few months later in April 2000 after she was accused of a conspiracy to murder her own daughter Harpreet Kaur.

Harpreet had married a boy of her choice against the wishes of her mother and was found dead under mysterious circumstances. The murder case trial is on in a Patiala court and the judgment was expected in next few months.

Despite being out of the post, Jagir Kaur remained centrestage in Sikh and Akali politics.

Then, in September last year Badal again got her elected president of the SGPC.

This time, she landed herself in more controversies and was accused of favouring certain persons by giving management quota seats in SGPC-run educational institutions - especially a medical college in Amritsar - without charging the full amount of fee.

This led to a loss of several millions of rupees to the SGPC. The Sikh Gurudwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) probed the matter and found her guilty. It ordered her removal from the SGPC president's post this July. She got a reprieve from the state high court to remain in the post.

She ended up in another controversy when she made a move to allow baptised Sikh women to perform religious ceremonies - something not allowed in the religion's 306-year history. She earned the wrath of male Sikh leaders in the process.

Jagir Kaur was hoping to get a third term this time as SGPC president, but 'godfather' Badal himself stymied it.






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