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Ross Street Gurdwara Registration Is In Full Swing As It Prepares For New Elections

VANCOUVER – The Ross Gurdwara registration is in full swing as the temple prepares for a new election this year.

While most enrollment issues were resolved by the courts some still linger on while new ones have taken birth, according to Sikh Youth slate which has been fighting the incumbent moderate slate to make the process more democratic and right.

A major complaint by the Sikh Sangat Seva Society is that they are being kept in the dark with financial records dating back to 2010.

“This information belongs to the Sangat and all members have the right to see it.  This committee cannot act as dictators.  However, they keep making excuses.  At first they agreed and said that we could see the records but then claimed that the records were lost.  Our many attempts verbally, in writing and finally through lawyers all failed,” Sikh Sangat said in a press release.

Like most Gurdwara battles this one ended up in court and it was ordered that these records must be produced by the committee.

“The committee has claimed that only the Gurdwara manager had access to the records but he had gone to India.  Every time there is a breach the only way to rectify is through the legal process to which they claim ‘Oh look at them, there they go again taking us to court and wasting money’, but they never mention that their wrongdoings, which were preventable resulted in legal proceedings,” said Sikh Sangar spokesperson Shingara Singh Johal.

“if there is nothing wrong and there is nothing to hide then they should make this information public, why are they hiding it?”

Johal further stated that “it was time to clean the mess once and for all”, stressing the need for a permanent fair process that did not favor any group and would result in avoiding all future legal battles.

Another ongoing issue that has once again come to the forefront is the enrollment of non-Sikh individuals.  Even though the membership form states that the individual confirms that they are followers of the Sikh faith it has not acted as a deterrent.

“The membership process was going well but now the tide is turning and in desperation non-Sikhs are once again being registered.  These individuals must realize that they are taking an oath of initiation into Sikhism and not just signing a piece of paper,” Johal said.

Sikh Sangat has made a challenge to these forms and the forms have thus been placed in “the disputed” section.  This mean that these memberships could become the center piece of yet another round of litigation and the individuals in question could be asked by the courts to verify.

“We welcome all people of all backgrounds and faiths to come to the Gurdwara and experience Sikhism.  They are most welcomed to become Sikhs and follow the teachings of the Gurus.  However, we condemn the actions of individuals that do not attend the Gurdwara, do not follow Sikhism but show up just to vote to manipulate the outcome of the election and thus the affairs of the society,” Johal added.

The courts had previously ordered that the current “non-elected temporary executive” must include two members from the Sikh Sangat Seva Society (Amar S. Sandhu and Manjit S. Cheema).

Interestingly, Cheema served on the current executive for the past three years and has claimed that it was the denial to access financial records drove him to leave the current group, according to the Sikh Sangat press release.  He is seeking to have a transparent process and access made available for all members.

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