Close on the heels of 14 gurudwaras in Ontario banning entry of Indian officials in gurudwaras and then UK based Sikh Federation proposing similar ban on gurudwaras in UK, Sikh Co-ordination Committee East Coast (SCCEC) and American Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (APGC) have claimed that 96 Gurudwaras of US have passed a resolution through a tele-conferencing to ban entry of Indian officials in Gurudwaras and even Nagar Keertans (religious processions).
SCCEC and AGPC have also claimed that they are the largest umbrella organizations of Sikh Gurdwaras. The announcement has been made with active backing of US based rights group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ). “We will also initiate legal proceedings against those Indian diplomats who will try to defy this ban,” said SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Sngh Pannun.
“Indian government officials and any person/s representing the interests of the Indian Government, shall not be allowed to enter the US Gurdwaras or to participate in any social and religious programs including Nagar Keertans,” the resolution reads. While the gurudwaras in Canada and Sikh Federation UK had also mentioned a clarification along with their announcements that the Indian officials could visit the Gurudwaras in personal capacity as part of the congregation to pay obeisance to Guru Granth Sahib.
“Indian government is responsible for the June 1984 military invasion of Sri Harmandar Sahib and 40 other Gurdwaras; destruction of Sri Akal Takhat; genocide of Sikhs in Delhi and throughout India in November 1984; constant looting of Punjab river waters and agricultural products; and decades of extra judicial killings of Sikhs in Punjab which still continues,” states the resolution which was read out by Himmat Singh the Coordinator of SCCEC before the Sikh gathering at Gurdwara in Richmond Hill, NY on Saturday.
The other reasons cited to justify this “ban” on entry of Indian officials include “Indian government “trying to eliminate the detained Akal Takhat Jatherdar Jagtar Singh Hawara by putting him in a solitary confinement and total denial of medical treatment ; unlawfully holding Sikh Political prisoners in Indian Jails even when they have completed their jail terms ; creating an environment to intimidate Sikh Youth by unlawful arrests and brutal torture by Indian Police; BJP controlled Indian Government is promoting the RSS agenda of Hinduvta and subjugating all other minority religions ; Indian Constitution (Article 25b) does not recognize, Sikhism the as a separate religion and clubs them with Hinduism”.
“This decision of banning the entry of Indian diplomats will also expose those Sikh community members and organizations who have been supporting the Indian regime for the last three decades” said Himmat Singh.
“Under the cover of “community outreach”, the Indian diplomats are creating an atmosphere of intimidation among the Sikhs who have taken refuge US, Canada, England and European nations from India’s constant persecution”, said Avtar Singh Pannu, member AGPC, adding “after US we shall campaign to ban the entry of Indian diplomats across European nations also as activities of the Indian diplomats have created disharmony and discontent among the peaceful Sikh community”