UK Sikh Federation Calls For Worldwide Ban After Canadian Gurdwaras Ban Entry Of All Official Visits By Indian Government Personnel

Canadian Gurdwaras Ban Entry2

Desibuzzbc-Banner-Metrics-FinalBut There Is No Ban On Government Officials Making Personal Visits To Gurdwaras!

Canadian Gurdwaras Ban EntryThe decision to ban official visits was taken at a meeting at Jot Parkash Gurdwara in Brampton on December 30. However, there will be no ban on any Indian official paying a personal visit to any gurdwara run by these committees.  “Keeping in mind the interference of Indian Consular and Indian Government officials in the lives of Canadian Sikhs, gurdwara management committees have jointly taken the decision to bar the entry of these officials and members from gurdwaras across Canada. The presence of these officials makes members of the Sikh community uncomfortable in Gurdwaras as they continue, among other things but not limited to, meddling in local community events, the use of bullying tactics of Indian Visa denial, pressure on members of the congregation to not support certain politicians, and efforts to silence members of ethnic media on Sikh Issues, as such proactive steps have been taken to ensure that Sikhs attending local Gurdwaras can do so without the interference of Indian agents/consular and/or government officials,” the Gurdwara officials said in a joint statement.

TORONTO – In a bold move of Sikh Unity, 14 Gurdwara management committees in Canada, specifically in the province of Ontario, have imposed a ban on the entry of Indian government representatives to gurdwaras under their control, using a local law against trespassing.

The decision was taken at a meeting at Jot Parkash Gurdwara in Brampton on December 30. However, there will be no ban on any Indian official paying a personal visit to any gurdwara run by these committees.

 “Keeping in mind the interference of Indian Consular and Indian Government officials in the lives of Canadian Sikhs, gurdwara management committees have jointly taken the decision to bar the entry of these officials and members from gurdwaras across Canada,” the Gurdwara officials said in a joint statement

Brand-D-Media-new-001"The presence of these officials makes members of the Sikh community uncomfortable in Gurdwaras as they continue, among other things but not limited to, meddling in local community events, the use of bullying tactics of Indian Visa denial, pressure on members of the congregation to not support certain politicians, and efforts to silence members of ethnic media on Sikh Issues, as such proactive steps have been taken to ensure that Sikhs attending local Gurdwaras can do so without the interference of Indian agents/consular and/or government officials,” the Gurdwara officials said in a joint statement."

But a spokesman of the concerned gurdwara committees in Canada, Amarjit Singh Mann, said: “We have just made it official. Indian officials were not allowed to speak or organise any function in any of these 14 gurdwaras even in the past. But that was a kind of unwritten understanding within the community. But now we have made it official as we found that Indian government officials were trying to interfere in our functioning. But our decision will nullify all such attempts by Indian government.”

On the heels of the Canadian Gurdwara move, the UK Sikh Federation called for a worldwide declaration banning Indian Government ‘officials’ from hundreds of Gurdwaras in response to interference and anti-Sikh activities.

In a move that will send alarm bells ringing in the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi and Indian High Commissions across the globe, the Sikh Federation (UK) is proposing a worldwide ban on Indian Government ‘officials’ from visiting hundreds of Gurdwaras in the diaspora in any official capacity.

Gurdwaras are places of worship and dissemination of community wide information and are the main Sikh institutions where millions of Sikhs gather each week.  In the UK hundreds of thousands of Sikhs go to Gurdwaras each week and the ban could extend to over 100 Gurdwaras, including many of the largest Gurdwaras in the country, the Federation said in a press release Friday.

The Indian government will see this as a significant challenge to its authority and will regard the ban extremely seriously as the Sikh Federation (UK) is by far the largest, most prominent and influential campaigning Sikh organisation in the UK and across Europe.  Sikhs throughout the globe look to the Sikh Federation (UK) for leadership and direction.

This weekend, the Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO), of which the Sikh Federation (UK) is a leading member will be discussing the proposed declaration that is due to come into effect later this month.  Eight regional Gurdwara Councils across the UK and organisations like the Sikh Council (UK) are also to be approached to encourage Gurdwaras who are members to become signatories to the declaration.

UK Sikhs are especially angry with India and Punjab for wrongly imprisoning and torturing a UK citizen Jagtar Singh "Jaggi" Johal, who has been jailed and tortured by Punjab police for over a month on false charges in the killings of extremist rightwing Hindu leaders.

Canadian Gurdwaras Ban EntryIn recent years, the Indian High Commission in Canada has been making attempts to improve ties with the Sikh diaspora there, which had been affected since Operation Blue Star in 1984.

The latest development has come as a setback to these efforts. Series of meetings were held by these committees since December 9 before taking the final call.

A press note released by the gurdwara management committees to explain the decision read, “Pursuant to the Trespass to Property Act (1990), the management of these gurdwaras reserves the right to bar entry to officials of the Indian Government, including but not limited to Indian elected officials, Indian consular officials and members of organisations who seek to undermine the Sikh nation and Sikh institutions.”

Speaking about the decision, Mann added: “There were many recent incidents in which our Sikh brothers and sisters were being pressurised by Indian High Commission to ensure their intervention in these gurdwaras by hook or crook. So we have ended this chapter by making it official that no Indian representative can enter gurdwara to make speech or organise any function. They can only come here in personal capacity as devotees. We will keep close watch on their activities even if they come as devotees.”

Harjit Singh Sahota, representative of Gurdwara Jot Parkash where the last meeting was held, said: “It is just the start and we are hopeful that more and more gurdwara committees will take this step to block access of Indian officials. There are around 25 gurdwaras in Ontario. I am hopeful that all gurdwaras will make it officials in coming days not only in Ontario, but in whole of Canada and US.”

In Amritsar, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said, “I have no information about this decision. I do not know the reason behind this decision. But in principle, no one can be stopped from visiting a gurdwara.”

Asked if he ever received any complaint from Sikhs in Canada about alleged intervention of Indian High Commission officials in affairs of Sikh gurdwaras in Canada, the Jathedar said, “I didn’t get any such complaint. But no interference of anyone in gurdwara management can be accepted.”

Last year, the Indian Consulate in Canada had faced a similar situation when it booked a gurdwara in Vancouver for Akhand Path (three-day-long uninterrupted reciting of Guru Granth Sahib) in the month of June to celebrate 350th birthday anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh. The Indian Consulate had to cancel the event at last moment due to “unavoidable circumstances”.

Later, some pro-Khalistan groups claimed credit for forcing the gurdwara committee concerned to cancel the booking.

Recently, a video went viral in which some Sikh youths apparently blocked the entry of Indian government representatives in an Australian gurdwara.

The  Ontario Gurdwara Committee (OGC), in partnership with other Gurdwaras will be hosting an information session and press conference about the Trespass Notice for Indian Officials.

This will take place on Saturday, January 6th, 2018, at 5pm, at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Malton (Malton Gurdwara), 7280 Airport Rd, Mississauga.

TFG-Poster 1

Be the first to comment on "UK Sikh Federation Calls For Worldwide Ban After Canadian Gurdwaras Ban Entry Of All Official Visits By Indian Government Personnel"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*