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Tradition trumps reform at temple

A youth slate seeking a return to more traditional customs claimedvictory yesterday in the weekend election at the Guru Nanak Sikh Templein Surrey.

A youth slate seeking a return to more traditional customs claimed victory yesterday in the weekend election at the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple in Surrey.

But members of the Sikh Youth said they weren't sure when — or if — their opponents would surrender control at the temple.

“It now remains to be seen whether the outgoing management will give charge of the Gurdwara Sahib to the youth slate or continue to drag out the process in courts as they have done for the last three years,” Bikramjit Singh Sandher, a leader of the youth slate, said in a statement.

Sunday’s vote was prompted by a B.C. Supreme Court order that set aside a victory by a youth slate last year, after finding irregularities in the nomination process.

The group said they received 13,458 votes, compared to 7,257 votes for the incumbents.

Control of one of the largest Sikh temples on the continent has been an issue since violence flared in 1997, largely over whether tables and chairs should be used in the temple dining hall.

Opponents of the furniture say it violates traditional Sikh values but Sandher says some tables and chairs will remain, for worshippers too old or ill to be comfortable on the floor.

The traditionalist youth said their aim is to reunite a divided congregation.