Indian Officials No Longer To Be Welcomed In UK Gurdwaras

By 5th January 2018 0 Comments

After Australia and then Gurdwaras in Canada imposed a ban on visits by Indian officials, Sikh organisations in the United Kingdom has decided to impose ban on indian officials in 100 gurdwaras in Britain.

Press Release By Sikh Federation UK :

Worldwide declaration banning Indian Government ‘officials’ from hundreds of Gurdwaras in response to interference and anti-Sikh activities
London – 5 January 2018 : In a move that will send alarm bells ringing in the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi and Indian High Commissions across the globe the Sikh Federation (UK) is proposing a worldwide ban on Indian Government ‘officials’ from visiting hundreds of Gurdwaras in the diaspora in any official capacity.
Gurdwaras are places of worship and dissemination of community wide information and are the main Sikh institutions where millions of Sikhs gather each week. In the UK hundreds of thousands of Sikhs go to Gurdwaras each week and the ban could extend to over 100 Gurdwaras, including many of the largest Gurdwaras in the country.
The Indian government will see this as a significant challenge to its authority and will regard the ban extremely seriously as the Sikh Federation (UK) is by far the largest, most prominent and influential campaigning Sikh organisation in the UK and across Europe. Sikhs throughout the globe look to the Sikh Federation (UK) for leadership and direction.
At the weekend the Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO), of which the Sikh Federation (UK) is a leading member will be discussing the proposed declaration that is due to come into effect later this month. Eight regional Gurdwara Councils across the UK and organisations like the Sikh Council (UK) are also to be approached to encourage Gurdwaras who are members to become signatories to the declaration.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the 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.”
“In Germany in recent years we have seen the authorities to their credit collect evidence, make arrests and prosecute agents reporting to Indian government officials on Sikhs who are German citizens.”
“The latest tactic by the Indian authorities of targeting Sikhs from the Diaspora when they visit the Sikh homeland as demonstrated by the case of British citizen Jagtar Singh Johal has broken the camel’s back.”
“We have been in discussions with the British police and government officials in the UK to see whether arrests and prosecutions are possible against agents reporting to Indian government officials. It is clear MI5 has considerable evidence of the activities of these agents, but the political will to make arrests and prosecute is not yet there.”
“We will keep up the pressure for the arrest and prosecution of these agents, but in the meantime the Gurdwara ban is a way of mitigating the problems being created by Indian officials for Sikhs in the Diaspora.”
Recently Gurdwaras the Sikh Federation (UK) associate with in Ontario, Canada started this initiative of the ban that has spread to other parts of Canada and with this latest push is expected to sweep across the diaspora like wild fire.
The Sikh Federation (UK) has consulted Gurdwaras in the UK and alone can secure the support of at least 60-70 Gurdwaras and with the support of others hope to get this to over 100 Gurdwaras.
Contacts in 15 other European countries have suggested a similar ban can be imposed in many of the 100 or so Gurdwaras in mainland Europe. Indian government officials could be facing a ban in over 300 Gurdwaras when this is combined with Gurdwaras from Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere in the diaspora.
The draft declaration being considered makes clear anyone in their personal capacity can pay their respects to the Sikh Holy Scriptures, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as a member of the Sangat (congregation). However, all Indian government officials need to understand their presence will make members of the Sikh community uncomfortable and they can therefore be expected to be challenged by other members of the Sangat and asked to explain their role in anti-Sikh activities.
Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

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Posted in: Sikhism