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Khalsa College land grab Charges get louder

CHANDIGARH: While the uncertainty over the future of Khalsa college in Amritsar continues and public support for saving the 119-year-old heritage institution is growing, Institute of Sikh Studies on Monday alleged that Majithia family wants to grab the land owned by the college by converting it into a private university.

Institute of Sikh Studies acting president Baljit Kaur said that members of the Majithia family like Satyajit Majithia, SAD leader and MLA Bikram Majithia and their relatives like Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal and his wife Harsimrat Kaur were running the college governing council, which wanted to hand over the Sikh
heritage institution into private hands.

Kaur alleged that if the college was converted into a university it would let them sell or lease the institution which was exactly what the Majithia family wanted.

The Institute of Sikh Studies is not the first one to level these allegations. Earlier, the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) had leveled the similar charges against the college governing council.

However, when contacted, Khalsa college governing council secretary Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina laughed off these charges as "utter nonsense."

"The Khalsa college institution doesn't allow the selling of its property in any case. Moreover, the governing council consists of over 100 members and decisions are taken unilaterally. These allegations of land grabbing are but false and nonsensical," said Chhina.

According to Kaur when the college was set up in 1892 along with the princely states of Punjab, who gave donations, peasants from three villages gave their land and they were promised free education to their children in return.

"The founding fathers of the college wanted this institution for the common man where all students especially belonging to poor families could study and it continues to be so," said Kaur.

"But if the college is converted into a private university there will definitely be a hike in fees and poor students would not be able to study here and the whole purpose of setting up this college would be defeated," added Kaur.

According to Bhai Ashok Singh Bagrian, former president of the institute and whose grandfather Bhai Arjan Singh, who headed chief Khalsa Diwan and was instrumental in setting up the college, converting the college into a private university would ruin the
collective heritage of the Sikhs.

"We are not opposed to a new Khalsa university. But it should not be run from any of the college buildings and should not be run from the college premises. The governing council can open the college anywhere else like the DAV is opening a new university in Jalandhar," said Bagrian.


ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2011, All rights reserved.