Akal Takht defends ban on Indian officials at overseas gurdwaras | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Akal Takht defends ban on Indian officials at overseas gurdwaras

The unusual move was initiated by the management committees of 14 gurdwaras in Ontario province of Canada invoking a local law against trespassing.

punjab Updated: Jan 08, 2018 20:28 IST
Surjit Singh
Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh
Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh (HT File)

Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on Monday justified the decision of the managing committees of gurdwaras in Canada, United Kingdom and the United States to impose a ban on Indian officials from entering these places of worship.

He, however, claimed that the ban is only confined to making speeches, receiving ‘siropas’ (robes of honour) or related activities on the gurdwara premises.

“We enquired about it and found that there is no ban on paying obeisance, listening to gurbani, discourse, kirtan, doing ‘sewa’ (voluntary service) or partaking langar. That Indian officials have been disallowed from entering gurdwara, is misinformation”, he elaborated.

“As far as the ban on certain activities is concerned, I will say it is the prerogative of the gurdwara managing committees whether they will allow someone to speak on the stage or not,” he said.

“The gurdwara bodies had a reason to take such step. After all, nobody can interfere in the affairs of any religion,” the head of the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, said. The representatives of gurdwara bodies had also accused the Indian consul officials of interfering in Sikh affairs.

He endorsed the rationale of the managing committees of some gurdwaras in Canada, United Kingdom and the US wherein they had claimed that “Sikhs have not been able to get justice in India on the issues of the 1984 anti-Sikh violence, operation Bluestar and other human rights violations”.

The unusual move was initiated by the management committees of 14 gurdwaras in Ontario province of Canada invoking a local law against trespassing.

On Monday, Sikh representatives in a Facebook page ‘News Punjab 2020’ announced that the committees of 96 gurdwaras in different states of the US have also resolved to impose a similar ban.

SGPC silent on ban

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal was silent over the move. HT made several attempts to get his reaction, but he did not respond.

Sarna slams ban, terms it SGPC’s failure

Opposing the move, Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) president and former Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) chief Paramjit Singh Sarna said, “It is failure of the SGPC as it could not coordinate with the management committees of the overseas gurdwaras on the issue.”

Interacting with the media on the sidelines of the bhog ceremony of ousted Chief Khalsa Diwan head Charanjit Singh Chadha’s son Inderpreet Singh, who committed suicide recently, he said the SGPC should have asked the gurdwara panels about the rationale behind this step and resolved the matter. “Personally, I feel that nobody can be disallowed from entering gurdwaras to offer prayers,” he said.