Sikh groups ban entry of Indian officials in 16 more Gurudwaras in Canada, 96 in the US

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Days following 14 gurudwaras in Canada’s Ontario area banned the entry of Indian government representatives, more gurudwara management committees in Canada and the US followed the line and barred Indian officials, RSS and Shiv Sena members from entering gurudwaras under their control. The announcement on the matter was made on Sunday at New York’s Gurudwara Sikh Cultural Society following religious worshipers organized to observe the death anniversary of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, who were given death penalty killing former PM Indira Gandhi.

The Sikh Coordinator East Cost and American Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee representative Himmat Singh said, “Total 116 gurdwara management committees had participated in teleconference on Saturday night and 96 of these gurdwaras had confirmed agreement to proposal to bar entry of Indian officials in gurdwaras, along with representatives of RSS and Shiv Sena.” Singh claimed that some gurudwaras couldn’t affirm due to technical flaws in teleconferencing. “We have been getting emails of many gurdwaras and numbers will increase further,” added Himmat Singh. The US president of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Surjit Singh, headed by Simranjit Singh Mann, also supported the resolution to ban entry of Indian officials. “Following Ontario gurdwara committees, we have been making it official that Indian officials will not be allowed for any intervention in management of gurdwaras in US. There will be no ban if someone visits Gurdwaras in personal capacity as devotee,” Singh added.

Adding to it, 16 gurudwaras in British Columbia and Alberta provinces of Canada passed a similar resolution on January 4. “This initiative was moved forward in western Canada by Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar (Surrey, BC) and Gurdwara Dasmesh Culture Centre (Calgary, AB) and a total of 16 Gurdwaras in BC & Alberta agree and support that sewadar of Gurdwara Sahibs reserve the right to bar access to the stage and entry to officials of the Indian government. This would include, but not be limited to, Indian elected officials, Indian Consular officials, and members of organizations like RSS and Shiv Sena.” It added that “To be clear, no individual is being banned from Gurdwara Sahibs, but Indian representatives in official capacity will not be permitted to address the sangat”.

“Although this policy of restriction exists informally, it is due time for a formal declaration. This step is being taken not to restrict access to the Guru, but rather to ensure that the Gurdwara Sahib remains independent from the interference of corrupt officials who represent a government that for the last four decades has committed genocide against the Sikh community and has never had positive intentions in dealing with Sikhs as a separate nation of people,” the statement added.

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