Narinder Singh, the director of Delhi Gurudwara polls, has objected to outgoing Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee president and Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa being chosen as a co-opted member of the DSGMC as a nominee of the SGPC.
Narinder Singh, on September 21, held that Manjinder Singh Sirsa is not well versed with Writing and reading of ‘Gurmukhi’. Therefore he does not qualify the conditions laid down under the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Act, 1971.
Narinder Singh had tested Akali Dal Leader Sirsa’s proficiency in Gurmukhi after the Delhi High Court in order of September 15 asked the director of Delhi Gurudwara polls “to take a decision upon representation of the petitioners dated September 9, 2021, insofar as it relates to the qualifications for the membership prescribed under Section 10 of the Act.”
Sirsa said he would challenge the orders in the high court. “The director is working against the interest of my party and me,” he added, adding that he has done BA (Honours) in Punjabi.
The petition in the high court was filed by SAD- Delhi and DSGMC member Harvinder Singh Sarna, who had defeated Sirsa in the DSGMC election, but the latter was immediately nominated to the body by the SGPC.
Harvinder Singh Sarna then filed an objection with the director of Gurudwara polls about Sirsa’s co-option. Sirsa produced certificates from a school and a college, both run by DSGMC in Delhi, that he studied Punjabi there as a subject.
However, Narinder Singh decided to test his proficiency through a test of reading and writing. “When asked to recite Gurmukhi from Ang (page) 1358 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Manjinder Singh Sirsa was not able to properly recite the same, with proficiency and accuracy, and when Sirsa was given a dictation from Sri Guru Granth Sahib, he flatly refused to write Gurmukhi, stating that the language was too difficult,” according to the order.
Sirsa then, on the spot, wrote an application in Gurmukhi without anyone dictating any language. He said that he was willing to write Gurmukhi from any source other than Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
“Ironically, the said letter written by Sirsa in Gurmukhi in his own choice of words has as many as 27 errors out of 46 words which are indicative of his little knowledge of Gurmukhi. Sirsa may be able to write a few words in Punjabi but the spirit of the Act places great reliance on a recitation from Sri Guru Granth Sahib and writing of Gurmukhi, where he has failed miserably,” Narinder Singh, the director of Gurudwara elections, wrote in his order.