Muscle flexing before polls triggered gurdwara clash

Sikh parties jockey for control over management committee

The clash between the two rival Sikh political groups at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj here was a show of strength ahead of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) polls.

With elections to DSGMC scheduled before December 31, both Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) are making desperate attempts to woo voters. “The clash was result of a mere show of strength,” said an investigative officer.

The clash took place ahead of an executive board meeting of DSGMC scheduled at 11 am on Thursday. Members and supporters of the two parties attacked each other with swords and kirpans, lathis and stones, injuring 11 people.

Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) is led by Manjit Singh G K and the other group by Paramjit Singh Sarna, who is currently president of the DSGMC.

While Sarna takes a strong anti-Badal stand and has cosy relations with the Congress leadership in Delhi - and is mainly responsible for ending Badal’s control on DSGMC - Manjit Singh G K is trying to regain control of the management committee.

The Supreme Court has directed Delhi government to conduct elections by December 2012 to the DSGMC, a statutory body formed under The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1971. The revised electoral rolls have four lakh voters.

The committee manages gurdwaras and various educational institutions, hospitals, old age homes, libraries and other charitable institutions across Delhi.

The last election was conducted in 2007 and Paramjit Singh Sarna was elected president for four years.

Now, both parties are trying to woo voters by organising meetings and religious functions. Manjit Singh G K, who is just a member on the committee and in opposition, is also making such efforts.

The clash took place over the ongoing campaign by both the parties.  

Manjit Singh G K was allowed to attend the meeting as he is a member.

But when four of his supporters were not allowed to participate he questioned this. A heated argument erupted, eventually leading to violence.

Police controlled the situation and rushed 11 injured persons to two different hospitals.

While Manjit Singh G K and his five supporters were sent to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, five supporters of Paramjit Singh Sarna were sent to Safdarjung Hospital.

“It’s an ongoing political issue and both the parties were flexing muscle to garner support,” said a member of the committee.

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