India SGPC Slips On Women Quota Resolution

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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
SGPC slips on women quota resolution
Gives them a miss in executive committee poll
G S Paul
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 17
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which had resolved to reserve 33 per cent seats for women and which was the launching platform of the Nanhi Chhan campaign for women rights, has invited the ire of women for ignoring them while finalising the candidates for the executive committee of the Shiromani committee yesterday.

Contrary to its tradition, this time it was an “all-men show”. All four posts of office-bearers as well as 11 seats of executive members were filled by men only, whereas in the last SGPC executive committee, there were two women members - Bhajan Kaur Dograwala and Ravinder Kaur.

SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar and SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema cited “political compulsions” for their failure to reserve seats for women this time.

It is learnt that the name of Bhajan Kaur figured in the list, but it was withdrawn at the eleventh hour.

“We had one woman candidate on the list but her name had to be withdrawn after opposition members’ demand for including at least two members from their side got the approval of the general house,” he said.

Though considered apolitical, the SGPC elections are always fought on political lines. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the ruling party in Punjab, had backed Avtar Singh Makkar for the coveted post.

“At least one seat should have been given to a woman member, no matter what the political compulsions were,” said Kiranjot Kaur, an SGPC member.

The Nanhi Chhan campaign was on top of the agenda of the SAD and it had resolved to reserve 33 per cent seats for women in the Shiromani committee.

Backed by the SAD, Bibi Jagir Kaur was elected the first woman SGPC president in 1999. Kiranjot Kaur was elected the general secretary. She held the post for two terms, besides being the executive member

for four years. Bhajan Kaur Dograwala was an executive member for the past three years. However, this time women members have been ignored.

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