Amritsar, October 20
The process of preparing electoral rolls for the ensuing Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) general elections would start from tomorrow and will be completed by November 15.
Prior to this, the Gurdwara Election Commissioner, Punjab, has introduced an addition in the ‘self-declaration’ with Form-1, meant for the Sikh aspirants to get themselves registered as voters.
- A Sikh has to be ‘Kesdhari’, believes in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, 10 Sikh Gurus and follows no other religion.
- The ‘patits’ who trim their hair, smoke and consume tobacco or liquor or ‘halal’ meat (applicable to both male and female) or Sikh males who shave or trim their beard would be barred from participating in the election process.
- The voter has to be 21 years or above in age, the name and his credentials has to be matched with the Aadhaar card or voters’ card issued by the Election Commission of India.
- In case of an illiterate aspirant, his statement furnished on the form should be read out to him clearly by the designated officer before taking his fingerprint.
Though the conditions would be the same for eligible voters, the new clause that has been added in the self-declaration annexure is, ‘I am a Sikh, I believe in Sri Guru Granth Sahib and 10 Sikh Gurus and follow no other religion.”
In the backdrop, voices were being raised from several quarters that those Sikhs who have been associated with any sort of ‘dera’ should not be allowed to take part in the SGPC polls. The reason being that they belie the basic fundamental principles of Sikhism and show faith towards a dera sect head who is a ‘living being’ whereas in Sikhism, the devotees would be fully dedicated to Sri Guru Granth Sahib only.
Additional District Election Officer-cum-Additional Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, Harpreet Singh said that the old forms have been omitted and replaced with the revised ones.
He said that the forms could be collected in person by visiting the designated offices or get it downloaded from the official website.
“In rural areas, the applicant can furnish the forms with the patwaris of their concerned revenue circle. In urban areas, these could be submitted with designated officials of municipal corporations, municipal councils, panchayats and executive officials,” he said.
SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami said that the SGPC had objected to the non-inclusion of this clause in the self-declaration. “The addition is a welcome step. But we are afraid that thousands of forms must have been procured by the applicants sans this additional clause. The lapse could have been avoided had the administration taken the SGPC or any other Sikh institution into confidence before releasing the self-declaration form,” he said.
The SGPC has suggested that to rectify it, the district administrations should prepare a stamp with the contents of the latest clause imprinted on it. This could be punched on the old forms, before getting it signed on the spot by the applicants.