Former Haryana gurdwara body president Jagdish Singh Jhinda resigns from ad hoc committee

Days ahead of the proposed December-21 election for the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee’s (HSGMC) executive body, former president of the body, Jagdish Singh Jhinda submitted his resignation as member of a 38-member ad hoc committee.

Addressing a press conference in Yamunanagar on Saturday, Jhinda announced his resignation from the committee constituted by the home department of Haryana Government earlier this month, to supervise smooth takeover of all the assets of gurdwaras in the state.

The ex-president, while flagging discrepancies in the constitution of the committee, said, “The government ignored the Sikh Sangat that struggled for the formation of HSGMC and favoured its loyalists.”

Notably, only eight members from the previous 41-member panel formed by former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government in 2014 were included in the new committee in a reshuffle. They include Jhinda, his rivals Baljit Singh Daduwal and Didar Singh Nalvi, Bhupinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh and others.

The new members also included BS Bindra, a close aide of home minister Anil Vij, media coordinator to chief minister Ramneek Singh Mann, rebel Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member Ravinder Kaur and others.

Speaking to reporters, Jhinda said that he was not protesting against the government or putting any pressure, but listening to his inner voice and would stand with the Sikh sangat.

“Even the previous Congress had accommodated their close aides and every government does, but the BJP government hasn’t only appointed their own people, but also those who have not worked for the formation of HSGMC. I can’t ignore the sentiments of my sangat and thus have resigned,” he added.

Jhinda, however, did not clarify if he planned to rebel against the elections, saying, “I have not asked any other member to follow me; that is their choice. A meeting has been called of previous members and community members in Kurukshetra on Sunday to discuss the future course of action.”

The old committee members who were included in the new list, particularly Jhinda, were said to be under pressure from several community leaders to resign or face opposition. Protests had also been organised at various gurudwara in the region against the move in the past few days.

Several bodies including Rashtriya Punjabi Mahasabha also pointed out the non-representation of all the districts in the ad hoc committee.