BY RATTAN MALL
VANCOUVER’S Khalsa Diwan Society President Sohan Singh Deo told The VOICE on Thursday that the historic society that runs the Ross Street Gurdwara is opposed to its name being used by other gurdwaras.
Asked why the society’s Vice President Major Singh Sidhu had issued a letter dated April 16, 2014 to the Corporate and Personal Property Registries giving his permission “as an authorized representative of The Khasa Diwan Society” to “register and incorporate Khalsa Diwan Society of Surrey BC,” Deo replied: “Well, somehow he did it. We have a resolution [passed last week] and we condemned whatever he did. He shouldn’t have done that.”
Deo added that Sidhu told the executive that he never realized that it would create this controversy. He said: “Sometimes not everybody knows what the effect of such an action would be.”
But Deo said that the entire gurdwara executive is not in favour of allowing other gurdwaras to use their society’s name.
Deo said the society sent a letter to the registry in Victoria stating that there shouldn’t be another society with their name. “The society has its own reputation,” he noted.
The registry asked them why there were other societies bearing that name “in Victoria and Port Alberni and in the U.S. and we told them that these are the branches of the Khalsa Diwan Society; that’s why they have the same name.”
Deo said they were waiting to see what the registry would do.
THE Sikh Sangat B.C. that is opposed to the current executive of the Ross Street Gurdwara in an email to the media noted: “Unfortunately, this name is now being misused. Khalsa Diwan Society of Surrey has sprung up. This is NOT a legitimate organization and the sacred name of Khalsa Diwan Society should never have been allowed to be used.”
They added: “Ironically, the group that took over the York Gurdwara that was privately run always condemned any group or organization that ran private gurdwaras and called them businesses and “hutties” – meaning shops. That was when this group had control of the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple on Scott Road. As soon as they find themselves on the other side of the fence having lost two elections, they too have gone into this business and opened up their “huttie”. When others were doing it they ridiculed and made fun of them and condemned this trend. Now, they contradict everything they said.”
Sikh Sangat BC said they made inquiries with the different Khalsa Diwan Societies but they all said that they had not given permission to use their name to any other gurdwara. Then they found that the permission had been given by the Vice President of Vancouver’s Khalsa Diwan Society.
They said: “Sikh Sangat condemns the actions of the group for using this name and for those that allowed its usage. We will fight to have this name removed. No private business under the disguise of a Gurdwara shall be allowed to use the Khalsa Diwan Society name. Also, another Khalsa Diwan Society is seeking legal consultation to have this name removed from the York Centre. Options are being looked into.”
MEANWHILE, Sikh Sangat B.C. noted that this weekend is the last for membership registration: Friday and Saturday – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last day).
Previous memberships were cancelled in 2012 and everyone must re-register to be eligible to vote this November.