Sikh university mired in controversies

Sikh university mired in controversies

From bitter feuds between its vice chancellor and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to its website being hacked, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University, the first Sikh university, has been grappling with controversies  from day one.

The university, set up with the idea of “disseminating ideology of the Sikh religion” is back in the news with the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissing a petition by founder vice chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia challenging his suspension.

The court on Tuesday asked SGPC to explore other options, including allowing Ahluwalia to resign, to give him an opportunity to exit.

Ahluwalia, who was removed as vice chancellor of the Punjabi University in Patiala in 2002 following charges of corruption and moral turpitude against him, was placed under suspension by his employer SGPC in July last year.

From Ahluwalia’s appointment as founder vice chancellor onwards, the university in Fatehgarh Sahib has been caught in numerous wrangles in the 18 months since it was formally launched in July 2011.

Ahluwalia was shot at and critically wounded by a man inside the university campus on August 1, 2011, just a week after the university was formally launched. The attacker was upset with him over an admission case.

Ahluwalia, in his petition before the high court, had accused SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, who is the chancellor of the university, of blackmailing him over certain appointments.

Of 92 appointments made, Ahluwalia alleged, 32 were of people recommended by Makkar. The appointments were made when Ahluwalia was in hospital and Gurnek Singh, an eminent Sikh historian, was made acting vice chancellor by Makkar.
Radical Sikh organisations had objected to the SGPC appointing Ahluwalia, who was also considered close to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, as VC.

“Due to his tainted past, he was removed as Punjabi University VC. He was not fit for this post due to his controversial past,” radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa leader Kanwarpal Singh said.

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