More expected to follow as figure across the globe now reaches close to 200 that have banned Indian state officials from visiting gurdwaras on official duty.
NOTE – For a list of the UK Gurdwaras involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the nature of how most modern day Gurdwaras are run, an official email/letter to prove the involvement of individual Gurdwaras is not always possible. Sikh PA stand by the SFUK declaration, based upon a national meeting of Gurdwara reps in Smethwick which took place on January 6th.
The management committees of 70 gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) in the United Kingdom have formalised a historic ban of Indian government officials receiving recognition or acknowledgement in them.
See a list of the Gurdwaras that are part of this below.
The Sikh Federation UK, which coordinated this move, gave the following reasons for the formal ban:
- To maintain harmony and the well-being and safety of the UK Sangat
- Anti-Sikh activities by Indian officials in the UK, including interference in the lives of British Sikhs and their institutions for over 30 years
- Distortion of Sikh history and the teachings of the Sikh Gurus by promotion of the RSS and Hindutva ideology
- Undermining the democratic rights of Sikhs in the UK to campaign for better political representation, recognition and promotion of the distinct Sikh identity, highlighting human rights violations, historic injustices in the Sikh homeland and acknowledgment of the 1984 Sikh Genocide
- The recent abduction, torture, unfair treatment and illegal imprisonment of Jagtar Singh Johal, an innocent British citizen who recently went to Punjab to get married further highlighting the plight of Sikh political prisoners in Indian jails
As per Sikh philosophy, all gurdwaras remain open to all – including anyone employed by the Indian state – in a personal capacity to pay respects to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the Sikh scriptural Guru). However, the Sikh Federation have made it clear that this would make members of the Sikh community feel uncomfortable given their representation of the Indian government and that such persons can be expected to be challenged by members of the congregation on their complicity in the anti-Sikh activities of the Indian government.
Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation UK said: ‘Sikhs in the diaspora are fed up with Indian Government officials and their agents increasingly interfering in our institutions and Sikh affairs, undermining of Sikh campaigns for greater rights and internal matters for the Sikh community.’
This move from gurdwaras in the UK follows the decision of 14 gurdwaras in the Canadian province of Ontario to ban Indian government representatives, using a local trespassing law to enforce it. Those gurdwaras were quickly joined by ones in other Canadian provinces and then 96 gurdwaras in the United States yesterday. The momentum is continuing with suggestions that gurdwaras in 15 other European countries are likely to follow suit in the coming days.
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