Jammu, July 7: The Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee elections are scheduled for tomorrow and will be quite an eventful affair since these elections are taking place after twelve long years. Various Sikh bodies participating have already spoken quite openly about the government not taking keen interest in the already delayed elections. U4UVoice got in touch with some of the front-runners of these elections and here is what they had to say.
Trilochan Singh Wazir:
It is without doubt that the elections for DGPC are taking place after a long gap of twelve years. These elections are of the religion and the most number of Sikhs in the state are based out of Jammu District and thereby Jammu becomes central to these elections. I appeal to the Sikh community to carry out these elections peacefully and democratically such that a free and fair election decides the future of the committee. The community is wise and will choose a candidate who is religious and will work without any bias.
Our manifesto consists of a strengthened promotion of the Punjabi Language. We intend to open computer centres within the Gurdwaras across the state such that computer education can be imparted to the youth. We will also start vocational training centres which will empower the unemployed youth to fetch work for themselves.
Sudershan Singh Wazir:
The Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee elections that are about to happen in Jammu and Kashmir take place under the Gurudwara act which directs that these elections should take place every five years. The delay of these elections, that are very important for our Minority community, has happened at the handiwork of some members of the community with vested interests. These people took the matter to court and even got a stay on the elections to enjoy the prime positions for the longest time.
We challenged the stay order in Hon’ble Supreme Court and now these elections are finally going to take place. There is a sense of excitement within the members of community.The members of the community sense the fact that those in power since 2003 who have been using the Gurdwaras as their personal property as well as have used the Gurdwaras as political platforms will be removed in these elections.
Narinder Singh Khalsa:
Our Party tried hard to not go into elections for various reasons, the prime one being that we wanted the wise and clean men in the community to sit together and come to a consensus for the election of a leader. It is sheer bad luck for the community, however, that there are certain elements present in the Sikh community who do not want the consensus method to be undertaken. They want elections and through the use of muscle and money, these elements may even win.
This is the reason why we are going to elections because we know that the members of the sikh community are quite wise and have been looking with a bird’s eye view towards what has happened for the betterment of the community and who has done it. We will be working towards the religious upliftment of the community. Our vision document covers the social, educational, political and cultural aspects. These are modern times and times of globalization. We want our community to move towards that general direction and that is what our party will work towards.
Avtar Singh Khalsa:
The Sikh community in general is seething with anger as everyone knows that those in power about now took court stays and ravaged the treasury of the Gurudwaras. There were no audits done and this can easily be verified. An audit of the finances should have happened every year but there has not been a single audit done in the last 12 years.
I have traversed my constituency. There is no facility to even stay for the Granthis (Priests). The common man in my constituency only complains to me about nothing having been done or accomplished in these years. The people have become wiser to the vested interests of the miscreants and are hopeful that a new committee would be formed through these elections. These times are ruled by the want for transparency which everyone expects in any functioning committee.
We intend to make a website for the sake of transparency of the functioning of the DGPC. The usage of the accounts will be shared on the website for all to see and evaluate. We will budget out allowances for each and every Gurudwara based on the populace living in a Gurudwara’s jurisdiction.
A main concern is increasing the salaries of the Granthis as their payouts are too low and they deserve better.