Following yesterday’s Independent news story headlined “Neo-Nazis’ plan White Pride march on same day as Sikh religious festival”, the Sikh Press Association spoke with many of the organisations involved in the situation, in an attempt to bring clarity to the issue.
Below we share statements from Edinburgh Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Edinburgh police and Edinburgh council. We have also spoken to Unite Against Fascism about their presence in Edinburgh on the day and recognise they wish to do everything possible to ensure the Nagar Kirtan (Sikh religious procession) on March 25th is not disturbed. We hope to provide a statement from them directly.
As a result of our inquiries, Sikh PA would like to make the following clear about the situation;
- Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj will NOT be present at the Nagar Kirtan
- The Nagar Kirtan is not for Vaisakhi or for any other Sikh festival. It is a celebration by Edinburgh’s Sikh community of the 40th anniversary of the opening of the first Gurdwara in the city
- The alleged “white pride march” is likely to be a static demonstration. Neither the council nor the police have given approval to any march of this kind
- The Nagar Kirtan takes place from 11am-1pm and the “white pride” demonstration is set to start around 1pm. The two separate events are planned for locations approximately three miles apart
- Edinburgh police and Edinburgh council have been speaking with Guru Nanak Gurdwara Edinburgh (the organisers of the Nagar Kirtan) ever since the situation became apparent. All parties involved feel there is no real danger to the Nagar Kirtan but all necessary precautions will be taken
For any further information or for interviews on the issue, please email Media@SikhPA.com.
Guru Nanak Gurdwara Edinburgh statement regarding “white pride march” and Nagar Kirtan on same day
Following an Independent newspaper article regarding a “neo-nazi white pride march” on the same day as a “Sikh religious festival” in Edinburgh, we would like to clarify the situation reported on.
The Sikh event taking place is not a “religious festival”, but a celebration by the Sikh community of the 40th anniversary of the opening of the first Gurdwara in Edinburgh. This is different from the Nagar Kirtan we hold for Vaisakhi and will not see the presence of Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj at the event.
The Nagar Kirtan will go on a procession of approximately two miles, all within the locality of the Gurdwara. This will take place from 11am-1pm and be approximately three miles away from the city centre, where the “white pride” demonstration is set to take place around the time we will be finishing. We never planned to go into the city centre, and we do not believe the “white pride march” was done to coincide with our Nagar Kirtan.
We have discussed the issue with the council and the police and recognise they will do their best to ensure the Nagar Kirtan is not disturbed in anyway. We would also like to express the great relationship the Edinburgh Sikh community has with our locals. We do not fear any trouble and we will be holding this event as it was always intended. We encourage anyone of any background to come along and join us to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first Gurdwara in Edinburgh.
The City of Edinburgh Council statement on “white pride march” coinciding with Nagar Kirtan
The Council has not received notification from organisers. We will continue to work with police to ensure minimum disruption to the community resulting from any event.
Police Scotland statement on “white pride march” coinciding with Nagar Kirtan
Police Scotland have been made aware of several demonstrations planned for Saturday 25th March in Edinburgh.
We are working with our partners, including The City of Edinburgh Council, to put in place a proportionate policing operation to facilitate peaceful protest and minimise disruption to the public.