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India Panthic Morcha Harps On Transparency, Corruption

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
August 22, 2011

Panthic Morcha harps on transparency, corruption

Dharmendra Rataul - EXPRESS INDIA - Posted: Aug 22, 2011 at 0127 hrs

Amritsar : Transparency in working of the religious body, political interference, corruption and NRI-related issues have been raked up by Panthic Morcha, a united front of the opposition, for the elections to send 170 members to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee on September 18.

With nominations ending on Tuesday, Panthic Morcha has also said maintaining the Maryada (Sikh code of conduct) and supremacy of Akal Takht are key campaign points for it. With an annual budget of Rs 500 crore, Panthic Morcha is seeking more transparency of accounts from golaks or offering boxes kept in gurdwaras, which is the SGPC’s primary source of income. They are also stressing on development of human resources and more allocation of funds for education and sports.

“Our main agenda is ensuring the independent status of the body as it is turning out to be merely an annexe of the SAD (Badal). The SGPC was set up to manage the Sikh affairs and gurdwaras but it is turning out to be servile to the political masters and deviating from its goal,” stated former minister, ex-SGPC secretary and chief spokesman of Morcha Manjit Singh Calcutta.

He said they are demanding guidelines for appointing Akal Takht jathedar to ensure his impartial status.

“The SGPC chief comes out with a lifafa (envelope) and SGPC members hardly take part in any discussions or debate in the SGPC house even during the budget sessions,” he alleged.

Calcutta also said politicisation of religious institutions should be checked. “Corruption is taking new shapes. Constructions are being ordered without tenders, favouritism is at its best and appointments are being made throwing norms to the winds,” he alleged.

SAD (Delhi) head Paramjit Singh Sarna said they wanted the SGPC and Sikh institutions including Akal Takht to be free from the clutches of the Badal family.

“During the regime of current SGPC head Avtar Singh Makkar, there had been worst kind of apostasy (Patitpuna) in society and this is all due to SGPC failing to stress on evangelism, its primary duty, and reaching out to the Sikhs with concrete programme. We are taking this issue up at all fronts,” he said.

Former head of Department of Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, Jagrup Singh Sekhon said there is an urgent need to address reforms.

“But the problem is that in the Akalis’ system of politics, there is little difference between religion and politics. No doubt transparency is required in SGPC and the issue is vital,” he said, adding Sikh issues including NRIs representation in SGPC by co-option, turban issue, separate Harayana Sikh Gurdwara panel would also be highlighted during the campaign.

SGPC head Avtar Singh Makkar, however, said they were contesting on the basis of development works they have carried out.

“We set up a world class university, the income of gurdwaras has shot up, allocations have been increased to educational institutions and for transparency independent auditors have been appointed. There is no corruption and whenever there was some leniency, action has been taken against the erring staff,” he said.

source: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/panthic-morcha-harps-on-transparency-corruption/835095/



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