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Post-DSGMC elections, row over preachers erupts

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To promote education among Sikh girls in Jammu and Kashmir, the SGPC has decided to offer free education and accommodation to them in institutions run by the committee.

Avtar Singh Makkar, SGPC chief, said today that a committee would be formed to survey schools in Jammu and Kashmir to enlist Sikh girl students.

A decision to this effect was reached after Makkar’s meeting with Kashmir Sikh Sangat chairman Dhanwant Singh who said the Sikhs were facing several problems in the strife-torn state.

Makkar saidt the committee would help Sikh students who came forward to propagate Sikhism in Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, after its win in the DSGMC elections, the SAD seems to have taken control of the daily discourses at Sikh shrines in New Delhi, though the party officially denies the same. The discourse from Gurdwara Bangla Sahib is being telecast live on a TV channel. Paramjit Singh Sarna, SAD (Delhi) chief, claimed that the SAD had shunted out some preachers hired by the earlier committee while some others had been told to restrict their discourse to ‘katha’ (explaining the essence of Gurbani).

He alleged that the SAD was dictating terms to ‘katha vachaks’ (preachers). This was unwarranted. Asked as to how the SAD was doing this when the reins of the DSGMC were still in his hands as the new body was yet to take charge, he said: “As I have been defeated, I don’t want to intervene on this issue, though I’m taking care of routine affairs. I want to see as to how low they can stoop.”

Daljeet Singh Cheema, SAD secretary, denied the charge. He said since the new committee was yet to take charge, “making changes in the affairs of Delhi gurdwaras does not arise.” However, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar admitted that Giani Mann Singh had been in Delhi to deliver religious discourses in gurdwaras there. He dubbed this as a temporary arrangement. “We will send preachers to the Capital whenever the DSGMC approaches us,” he added.

Former DSGMC general secretary Kulmohan Singh confirmed that they had sought the services of SGPC-appointed preachers and Giani Mann Singh was the first among them.

“He will be delivering discourses at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib,” Kulmohan Singh said

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