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Obituaries : Lakhbir Singh Chima; Sikh Community Leader

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Lakhbir Singh Chima, a prominent member of Los Angeles’ Sikh community who led a revolt against the board of directors of a North Hollywood temple in 1993, has died at a Los Angeles hospital. He was 61.

A Northridge resident and former president of Valley Soils Engineering Corp., Chima died May 18 of a heart attack, said his sister-in-law, Baljit Dhaliwal.

Founded in 1989, the Sikh Gurdwara temple in North Hollywood became the site of a fractious conflict over the temple’s leadership in October, 1993. After an alleged series of attacks against worshipers, a dissident group led by Chima took over the building and refused to leave.

Following a tense stand-off that brought police to the site to prevent further violence, the dispute landed in court where it ended in a settlement a few days after Chima’s death, Dhaliwal said.

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Born July 13, 1933, in the village of Chima in Punjab, India, Chima came to the United States in 1955 to pursue an education in engineering. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his master’s degree from Utah State University.

Among his many accomplishments, Chima served as president of the Sikh Study Circle of Los Angeles, vice president of the World Sikh Organization and president of World Sikh News. He also served on two state boards, an Asian Indian advisory council and a commission on the prevention of hate crimes.

In 1980, Chima was given a saropah, a holy scarf bestowed by the Golden Temple Gurdwara in Amritsar, Punjab, India. The rare honor is given in recognition of a Sikh’s community service and dedication to the faith.

Chima is survived by his wife, Palvinder; three sons, Ravinder Chima, Rajinder Chima and Rapinder Chima, all of Los Angeles; two daughters, Ranjit Bhadesha of Bakersfield, and Gurdev Pawar of Phoenix; and seven grandchildren.

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A funeral was held Wednesday under the direction of Bastian & Perrott Mortuary in Northridge. The final prayer ceremony for Chima will take place Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at Sikh Gurdwara temple, 7640 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.


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