Veteran Akali Leader, Former Higher Education Minister for Punjab and a former Secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), Manjit Singh Calcutta passed away here at Amritsar on Wednesday morning.
He was not keeping well for the past some time and had recently developed a chest congestion following which he was admitted to a local Hospital in Amritsar and was kept on ventilator.
Manjit Singh Calcutta was a native of Calcutta (now Kolkatta). He did his schooling at Khalsa English High School, Kolkatta in 1957. Then he joined Ashutosh College, Calcutta University. After that, he studied LLB at University College of Law, Calcutta in 1966. From 1967-80 he remained National Head-Sales of Fritz & Singh Limited, Calcutta. From 1988 to 2004 he remained Honorary secretary, Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee Amritsar and from 1997 to 2002 he remained MLA from Amritsar and Higher Education Minister for Punjab in Punjab Government.
He remained General Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal (Eastern States), Secretary, Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Calcutta and later elected President, Gurdwara Bara Sikh Sangat (Historical), Calcutta. In 1980, got elected as General Secretary, Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and later became its President. He also became National General Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal under the presidentship of Jathedar J.S.Talwandi, Harchand Singh Longowal, Surjit Singh Barnala and Parkash Singh Badal. Manjit Singh Calcutta remained a Secretary SGPC, a post which he held for almost a decade. He took a token salary of just Re one per month from the SGPC.
He joined Gurcharan Singh Tohra, former President SGPC, and MP who was expelled from SAD forcing him to form a new party Sarv Hind Shiromani Akali Dal. On that occasion five members of Badal’s cabinet, including Manjit Singh Calcutta, Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Harmail Singh Tohra, Inderjit Singh Zira and Surjit Singh Koli, who all resigned in protest against the expulsion.
In 2003, a post of Chief Secretary in SGPC was created for the first time to accommodate Manjit Singh Calcutta after he retired from the post of secretary. However, before Calcutta could assume charge, the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission struck down the orders of the SGPC executive.
He has also raised objections in 2013 against the construction of the Sikh Genocide 1984 memorial inside the historic Gurudwara Rakabganj Sahib Complex in New Delhi.
His cremation will take place here on Thursday noon.