Naveen S Garewal, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 20. Gurdwara Election Commission has ordered a probe into the cases of alleged bogus voting and voting by Sehajdharis in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee elections held on Sunday. Justice HS Brar (retd), Chief Commissioner of the Gurdwara Election Commission, has asked all Commissioners, who oversaw the election process, to investigate and submit a report immediately.
Justice Brar told The Tribune that the commission had taken a very serious view of the reported poll violations, but action could only be taken after violations were established. The commission had issued a clear directive that only Keshdhari Sikhs were allowed to cast their votes. The polling officials had been given the right to physically verify that all voters were Keshdharis.
The Chief Commissioner said once it was established that the orders of the commission had been violated, strictest of punishment would be imposed upon the erring officials, irrespective of their stature and rank. “Our orders were clear and these were violated, none responsible for it would be spared”, Justice Brar said.
In a letter sent out to all Commissioners last evening, it has been stated: “The Gurdwara Election Commission had issued directions to officers, including the presiding officers, and had also issued press notes to the effect that only Keshadhari Sikhs be allowed to cast their votes. The orders were reiterated in letters dated August 26, September 7 and again on September 16. Yet there are news reports in some daily newspapers (cuttings enclosed) reporting that non-Keshadhari Sikhs have also caste their votes”.
Further the commission has said, “If it is so then immediate appropriate action is required to be taken at your end.
Also, action be taken against the delinquent officials and officers who have gone against the directions of the commission. Immediate report on the matter be sent to this commission”.
Justice Brar said the entire polling process had been videographed by the candidates. Once the commission received complaints from the candidates and aggrieved parties, the entire evidence would be evaluated and strict action would be taken under various provisions of the law available with the commission. “I have asked for an immediate report which I expect should come within the next one or two days”.
He further said not many complaints had been received by his office. “Only two or three complaints of minor nature have been received which are being looked into”.
Meanwhile, it is learnt from sources that the Union Home Ministry has asked the commission to send a “factual report” about media reports. When asked about it, Justice Brar said it was an ongoing process to brief the Centre.