90 Minute Debate Leaves Indian Diplomat Red Faced and Desperate

By 12th January 2018 0 Comments

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Over the past few days there has been a major outcry across the world over the treatment of Sikh’s. We have seen Gurdwara committees now commencing the ban against Indian officials from using the holy sites to stage their Anti-Sikh talks. This move has caused India to speak out against this ban as they seek to dispel this movemement. During a recent interview on BBC Asian Network we heard from the Deputy High Commisioner of India, Dinesh Patnaik and what he had to say.

“Over the last 1 year, our engagement with the sikh community particularly has been very intense and we have been doing a lot of activities, including celebrating vaisakhi in a major way. We have been going to all gurdwaras, meeting people, talking with them, finding out what issues they have, so we were a little surprised why this knee-jerk reaction”

Rajwinder Singh an Indian Born Sikh living in Uk for past decade is the first to appear and share his views. Upon being questioned by the presenter, the guest says Indian Sikh’s outside of India over exaggerate events in Punjab. His family all stay in Punjab and have never been harassed by anybody in law enforcement. He also claims Sikh’s in Punjab are under no threat from anybody.

The thoughts of Rajwinder Singh are then challenged by a Nishan Singh who is also an Indian born Sikh now living in UK. Nishan Singh simply asks Rajwinder Singh to do some research and everything will be clear as day. We hear from Nishan Singh talking about the situation surrounding Jagtar Singh and the Chennai 6. We hear how certain Indian officials have attempted to buy Gurdwara leaders and followers to sell them information and treat them as spies.

The next guest to appear is a Harmandir Singh who says Sikh views are often ignored by Indian officials and they must be willing to respect the decision made by the communicate as a whole. This guest is seeking an open dialogue with the India government to discuss their issues as a whole.

Finally we hear from Dabinderjit Singh who talks about the impact of the Gurdwara ban imposed across the world. The thoughts of those imposing the ban and those of the Deputy Indian High Commmissioner are compared. It is revealed that people close to Dinesh Patnaik is a confrontational person and he created fake news in regards to visiting a prominent Gurdwara in Southall, a day after reports of the ban were released and not being in full effect yet.

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The first guest on the show is a Jagdish Singh who is asked if he supports the ban against Indian Officials speaking in Gurdwara’s. The guest wants the officials to be open to debate and not appear for their own personal agenda. Jagdish Singh passionately says they are simply reacting to the oppression against Sikh’s and they are wanting the Indian state to be held accountable for their actions. The aim of the ban, in the views of this guest is to have an open dialogue with the officials of India.

The next guest caller claims the purpose of the ban is to break up India. He says the “divide and rule” method is being used to seperate Sikh’s from India and is being imposed by non-Indians. This issue is challenged by Jagdish Singh who releases facts about the rape rate and murder rate of India.

Dinesh Patnaik, the Deputy High Commissioner of India from London is brought onto the show for his views. Mr Patnaik says he has no problems of people being afraid of going to India and claims the Gurdwara is being used as a political tool. Dabinderjit Singh talks about Mr Patnaik using the Sikh guru’s as a tool to please the community and interfere in religious matters.

The Deputy High Commissioner moves onto the case of Jagtar Singh Johal. Mr Patnaik revealed Jagtar is in fac being charged on 7 accounts and later backtracks on his statement. Upon being questioned he reveals Jagtar “will be charged”and is adamant there is no way he will be released. The topic then soon changes to the rights of Jagtar and wild claims are made by the Deputy High Commissioner. The talks of torture are denied and yet no independent medical has been allowed. He also claims the judicial system of India is “fair” and there is no malice on their behalf. Dinesh later backtracks and says Jagtar has not been charged and will recieve a fair trial, if that is the method taken.

The next guest, Bichitar Singh reveals the words of Dinesh are false and he uses the words of the RSS idealogue. The topic of Jagtar Johal is brought back up and the case of Sultan Masih is highlighted in which numerous complaints were made about RSS threatening the pastor and all these compalints were ignored. Dinesh is then irate over a report by the Human Rights which claims India is the most unsafe place for activists. He then tries to deflect the issue back onto the Gurdwara ban and tries to deny talking about politics. The Deputy High Commissioner then asks the Sikh Federation UK of what they are afraid of by imposing this ban. This question is answered by Dabinderjit who related to the current situtation and how this has been a longstanding issue since the power of the BJP party.

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The BBC Asian Network chose to discuss the topic of the ban on Indian Officials using Gurdwara’s for political agendas. An advisor for the Sikh Federation UK, Dabinderjit Singh expressed his feelings on the ban and was then followed by a reaction from the Deputy High Commissioner of India (London).

Dinesh Patnaik, the Deputy High Commissioner claimed he had recieved numerous calls from Sikh’s within UK and told him they did not agree with the ban and this was the work of a minority group who were intent on stirring trouble. He also claimed Scottish activist, Jagtar Singh Johal had made false allegations of torutre and there was no truth into this. No proof has been presented by Indian officials to back their claims of no torture.

The majority of a pool of people randomly questioned on this topic agreed with the ban. The reasons were similar and highlighted the interference of Indian officials using their role to highlight their own agendas and use the platform to create hatred.

The main issue which has concerned NRI Sikh’s is the treatment of Jagtar Singh Johal. Worried Sikh’s are upset over the treatment of the Scottish youth who is being held as a “political prisoner” as claimed by one caller named Sukhbir Singh who also says he would be “worried” about visiting India. Sukhbir Singh makes a point in detailing the major discrepancies in the case against Mr Johal and the attempts of India to cover up their pretentious case.

The advisor to the Sikh Federation UK, Dabinderjit Singh picks apart the statement by Mr Patnaik. He asks for the Indian officials to open a dialogue to air their concerns in an open venue.

A caller named Rajdeep Singh says he has 3 concerns over this ban and goes onto highlight them. The third issue relates to passport and visa issues and how Sikh’s will be affected. Dabinderjit Singh is allowed to respond to these concerns and takes particular interest in the visa and passport issue. He also talks about his personal experience when he was invited to an event by the Indian High Commission as was not allowed to take stage to speak on any matter.

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Posted in: Sikhism