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Jagir Kaur is SGPC chief again

By Our Staff Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, SEPT. 23. Bibi Jagir Kaur today set a record of sorts when she became the first woman to be elected for the second time as the president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) that manages the historic Sikh shrines and some educational institutions in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Ms. Kaur is the first chief of the newly-constituted house, elections for which were held in July. Her name was proposed by the senior Akali leader, Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, and seconded by another SGPC member, Harswinder Singh. There were no other contenders.

She had held the same post from March 1999 to November 2000, when her name figured in the controversy surrounding the death of her daughter, Harpreet Kaur. Ms. Kaur is facing trial for this before the CBI's special court in Patiala.

The post had been vacant since the death of the Akali stalwart, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who served for 26 terms. He died in March after a brief illness.

Today's elections of the SGPC chief, other office-bearers and members of the executive committee were held in the Teja Singh Samundari Hall, which is the SGPC headquarters located in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar. The procedure was conducted in accordance with the statute, under the direct supervision of the Chairman of the Gurdwara Election Commission, J.S. Sekhon and the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar, Raminder Singh. The five designated apex clerics, "Singh Sahiban," were also present.Ms. Kaur later presided over the proceedings of the house, in which some resolutions were passed unanimously. The house thanked the chairman of the Gurdwara Election Commission, for the peaceful elections. It committed itself to establishing a high-standard Gurmat Institute in memory of Tohra.

Turban issue

By a resolution, the SGPC asserted that as the turban was an integral part of the identity of the Sikh community the Central Government and other countries should prevail upon the French Government to annul its legislation which prevented the Sikhs from wearing it in France.

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