Two Sikh Bodies Run Parallel Campaigns in Punjab to Counter ‘Religious Conversions’

The premier religious body of Sikhs, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), faces a challenge to its supremacy with the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) on Wednesday launching a parallel Sikh propagation campaign in Punjab.

The DSGMC initiated the `Dharam Jagrukta Lehar’ from the holy town of Amritsar, being seen as analogous to SGPC’s ‘Dharam Parchar Lehar’ launched about a month ago to propagate Sikhism and stop conversions in the state. The DSGMC even opened its ‘Dharam Parchar’ wing office, appointing Shiromani Akali Dal (Samyukt) activist Manjit Singh Bhoma as the incharge of the campaign.

The SGPC is controlled by the Sukhbir Badal-led SAD and the presence of some members from the splinter group of the party at the DSGMC event raised curiosity in political and religious circles.

Traditionally, the SGPC manages the affairs of the historic gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Chandigarh while the ones in Delhi are being managed by the DSGMC led by Harmeet Singh Kalka, who also heads a splinter Akali group, SAD (Delhi State), after parting ways with the Badals.

The DSGMC members alleged that the SGPC had failed to counter conversions in Punjab. “It (SGPC) has failed to propagate the Sikh religion and ethics in Punjab which is why many youths from the community are being weaned away by other religious groups and conversions in rural areas are on the rise,” alleged a member.

Revealing details about their Dharam Jagrukta Lehar, the committee members said that the DSGMC-appointed preachers would travel around the Majha, Malwa, and Doaba regions of the Punjab state in coordination with local gurdwara bodies to widen its reach with the masses, apprising them about the glorious Sikh history, culture, and principles.

Apart from the DSGMC, some members of the SGPC, HSGPC, Chief Khalsa Diwan, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led SAD (Samyukt), and Sikh Sant Samaj organisations too attended the event.

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