Photo row: SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar seeks apology from US gurdwara

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Amritsar
  • Updated: Dec 12, 2014 11:45 IST

The photograph of a young Sikh woman in bridal attire, posing before the Guru Granth Sahib inside a gurdwara in Glen Cove town of New York, has triggered a controversy after it went viral on Facebook.

The photo shows the bride, Sonal Parmar, sitting with her back to the holy book.

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar has sought details of the incident from the president/manager of the US gurdwara.

“This (having one’s back to the holy book) amounts to showing disrespect to the Sikh scripture and it is also a violation of Sikh religious traditions and customs,” said Makkar in a communique to the Glen Cove shrine manager.

The SGPC pointed out that such postures in front of the Guru Granth Sahib were prohibited.
Makkar has sought an apology from the management of the Glen Cove gurdwara.

Meanwhile according to the website Sikh24, the head granthi of Glen Cove gurdwara, Paramjit Singh, has described the incident as a shameful act.

“We are trying to find out when this incident took place, and ensure the same mistake is not repeated,” he told the website.

Paramjit, who has been doing seva at the US gurdwara for years, said this incident took place when he was out of the country, but acknowledged that it happened due to lack of supervision.

“The incident must have taken place after the wedding was over,” he added.

He pointed out that they normally ask all couples to leave the gurdwara hall immediately after ‘ardas’ (performed at the end of Anand Karaj).

He claimed that the bride may have returned later for the photograph.

As per Paramjit, no permission was sought from the gurdwara for the photo shoot.

SGPC asks PM to review cases of Sikh detainees

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for reviewing the cases of Sikh detainees who have been languishing in jail despite having completed their sentences.

In a letter to the PM, the SGPC pointed out that a number of Sikh youths who were detained during the period of militancy and even afterwards had been in jail due to the slow judicial procedure.

There are a few whose cases have not even gone on trial to the courts, he added.

Without referring to any specific case, the SGPC chief called upon the PM to direct the Union home ministry to review all such cases.

“Justice should be done and all those who deserve to be released should be given freedom,” he added.

A copy of the communique was also sent to Union home minister Rajnath Singh.

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