Hindustan Times – Takht Jathedar seeks probe into Delhi violence

He made the statement immediately after his return from Pakistan. The Jathedar, along with 12 other Sikhs, had gone to Pakistan to take part in a function to observe the anniversary of the Nankana Sahib massacre on 21 February.

HT Correspondent

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 25 February 2020. The acting Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Harpreet Singh on Tuesday sought probe into the ongoing Delhi violence that has coincided with the visit of US President Donald Trump. At least 10 people have been killed in the national capital in the violence over the past two days.

He made the statement immediately after his return from Pakistan. The Jathedar, along with 12 other Sikhs, had gone to Pakistan to take part in a function to observe the anniversary of the Nankana Sahib massacre on February 21.

“See, when Bill Clinton (the then US president) had come to India in 2000, 36 Sikhs were killed in Jammu and Kashmir, and, now, when Trump is around, Delhi is burning. It should be probed why India sees violence whenever a US president is around?” he said.

The Jathedar said, “We talked to the Pakistan government and they agreed to open two gurdwaras, named after Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh and Bhai Money Singh (both Sikh martyers). The shrines will be opened after renovation.”

On being asked if he was satisfied with the apology of director general of police (DGP) for his Kartarpur remark, he said, “His mistake is very big and he should step down on moral ground.

The statement has hurt the sentiments of Sikh community,” adding, “I have spent five days in Pakistan and I have not become a terrorist. How can a person become a terrorist spending some hours there?”

On minorities’ condition in Pakistan, he said, “Minorities in Pakistan, especially the Sikh community, are safe and at peace. We met several Sikhs and no one complained of any type of persecution.”

Earlier, the Jathedar had said that Pakistan was a safe country and maximum Sikhs from India should visit all historic gurdwaras there.

The Jathedar had also met the family of a Sikh girl of Nankana Sahib who was allegedly abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim youth in Pakistan. “They informed me that the girl is under some pressure,” he said.

On the row over Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale’s interpretation of Gurbani and Sikh history, the Jathedar reiterated that he should appear before the five-member committee.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/takht-jathedar-seeks-probe-into-delhi-violence/story-Y3DWL1yGiLeyyzrXi37FpM.html

Hindustan Times – Pakistan is safe, maximum Sikhs from India should visit gurdwaras there: Akal Takht Jathedar

People of both India and Pakistan don’t need to fear visiting each other’s country. Pakistanis are loved by people in India, says the Jathedar

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 24 February 2020. Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh has said that Pakistan is a safe country and maximum Sikhs from India should visit all historic gurdwaras there.

In a video shared by Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Satwant Singh, the jathedar can be heard saying: “Historic gurdwaras hold big importance for SIkhs. ‘Darshan-didar’ of these gurdwaras has given me immense pleasure and peace of mind.

I have no word to recognise the love shown by Pakistan’s sangat and common people towards me. Not only me, locals also share warm vibes with every person coming from India here.”

“People of both India and Pakistan don’t need to fear visiting each other’s country. Pakistanis are loved by people in India,” Giani Harpreet Singh said.

He further said, “I would like to give a message to Sikhs living across India that they should come here in maximum numbers to have ‘darshan’ of historic gurdwaras.

By doing so, they will not only get the blessings of the Guru, but also get rid of illusions about the atmosphere in Pakistan. They will come to know that peace prevails in this country. So, Indian Sikhs should visit here.”

“We want historic gurdwaras, many of which are in a state of neglect, to be reopened. Footfall of Sikhs at these gurdwaras will help them getting restored,” said the jathedar.

Speaking on low footfall at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, which was the last resting place of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak, the jathedar said, “Complicated procedure of getting permission for the pilgrimage and condition of passport are the main hurdles. Governments of both the countries should sit together to find out a solution.”

He appreciated the PSGPC’s efforts for the betterment of the gurdwaras and welfare of the Sikhs living in Pakistan.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pak-is-safe-maximum-sikhs-from-india-should-visit-gurdwaras-there-akal-takht-jathedar/story-p4bMc8jcAycnFC8r01DIdN.html

Hindustan Times – Medical students of Amritsar college sell tea, fruits to mark protest against ‘meagre’ stipend

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 11 February 2020. Perturbed over meagre stipend, students and interns of Government Medical College (GMC), Amritsar, on Tuesday sold tea, sweets and fruits outside Guru Nanak Dev Hospital (GNDH) here as a mark of protest.

Over 250 GMC students, supported by para-medical staff, gathered outside the hospital at 11 am and raised slogans against the state government. The students also suspended their hospital duties to show their dismay.

While addressing the protest, president of Medical Student Association Dr Vaibhav Chawla said, “The interns of Punjab government medical colleges are paid Rs 9,000 during their internship.

For the last 10 years, state government has not increased the monthly stipend, which is one of the lowest in the country. The government, however, has increased the fee of the students twice in four years.”

“The minimum daily wage of a worker in Punjab is Rs 325 but we earn mere Rs 300. We decided to sell fruits, tea and sweets for a day to show government that a medical student can earn more than Rs 300.”

The students said former medical education minister O P Soni had promised to increase the stipend but nothing has come out.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/chandigarh/medical-students-of-amritsar-college-sell-tea-fruits-to-mark-protest-against-meagre-stipend/story-TcRlZUP1hQP7Lya8AguXwM.html

Hindustan Times – Understanding the discord between the BJP and SAD

Lack of trust between the allies is mutual, and SAD’s push for a monopoly on Sikh interests is the root cause

Vinod Sharma

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 31 January 2020. Its diminishing clout in Punjab prompts the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to move out to mop up the Sikh community’s support in other states. That apparently is the root cause of its frayed ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its ally at the Centre which in recent months has refused to cede ground to the Dal in Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan.

A quick survey of Sikh lawmakers in Parliament and assemblies shows that they don’t need the SAD’s apron strings to serve their constituents.

In Haryana, the BJP rejected the Dal’s demand for seats in a breach of understanding under which the SAD withdrew candidates in the Lok Sabha polls on the promise of being accommodated in the assembly elections.

The result: The only Sikh to make it to the state legislature won on the BJP’s symbol. Similarly, the sole Sikh legislator in Uttarakhand heads the SAD unit in the hill state, but sits in the House as a BJP Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA).

The story is the same across states with Sikh populations.

Of the two Sikh MLAs in Odisha, one is from the Congress and the other from the ruling Biju Janata Dal. Likewise, the community’s two parliamentarians from West Bengal are from the Trinamool Congress and the BJP.

In the Delhi polls, the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have put up three Sikh candidates each. The Congress has six. The saffron party was willing to accommodate the Akalis if they agreed to have their men fight on its symbol.

That, according to sources close to the Badals, was a departure from the previous polls when the Akalis contested two seats on their own symbol and two on the BJP’s.

For their part, the Akalis have claimed that the BJP denied them seats as it was upset with their demand for making the citizenship law inclusive.

But there’s an independent version against the SAD narrative. It says the talks broke on the choice of symbols, not as much the SAD’s stance on the law amended to afford citizenship to persecuted minorities.

To that, the Badal faction maintains that they were getting short shrift from the BJP leadership.

But it seems the Dal has been overly ambitious and divorced from the ground reality in claiming, so to speak, the right to eminent domain on the Sikhs’ electoral representation. This oddity is glaring, especially when its supremacy, as the foremost party of the Sikhs, faces a serious challenge in its home base of Punjab.

Incidents of sacrilege during Parkash Singh Badal’s last stint as chief minister continue to hurt the party.

The internal ferment over the Badals’ stranglehold on the organisation also came to a head with the exit of S S Dhindsa, the Dal’s secretary general and senior-most Akali after P S Badal. His son Parminder Dhindsa, who led the SAD in the Punjab assembly, has also severed ties with the party.

Another notable leader, R S Brahmpura, formed his own faction, the Akali Dal (Taksali), in late 2018. Not surprising that in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidates trailed in assembly segments held or contested by the SAD.

So much so that the Dal failed to retain its president and Lok Sabha Member of Parliament, Sukhbir Badal’s Jalalabad assembly seat in a bypoll last year.

It is common knowledge in Punjab that the BJP, aware as it is of the Dal’s declining fortunes, has been in touch with SAD renegades and dissidents such as Dhindsa, on whom the NDA government conferred a Padma Bhushan last year without formally sounding out the Badals.

If push comes to shove, the BJP, regardless of its last minute entente in Delhi, might not be averse to a life without the Badals in Punjab. Towards that end, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-navigated focus is on the Malwa region that accounts for 69 seats in the 117 member legislature.

In the last assembly polls, there were instances of traditional BJP supporters voting for the Congress to defeat the AAP candidates backed by the aggressive anti-Badal panthic Akalis and elements from the radical Left.

By most accounts, the lack of trust between the allies who first came together in 1996 is mutual. Their ties have been hit in the past by the RSS view that Sikhs were part of the Hindu faith.

In fact, late last year, Giani Harpreet Singh, the head priest* of the Sikhs’ highest temporal seat, the Akal Takht, sought a ban on the Sangh for its domineering Hindutva agenda that he considered divisive.

The Badals’ control of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) is well known. They cannot, therefore, insulate themselves from the Giani’s offensive against the RSS.

In that backdrop, it is a lot easier to understand why the SAD is weary of making its candidates fight on the BJP symbol outside Punjab.

*There are no priests nor head-priests in Sikhi
Man in Blue

https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/how-the-finance-minister-should-respond-to-india-s-economic-crisis/story-WUIdPB0IHmfPbiocJbtcqM.html

Hindustan Times – Exit of Dhindsas from Shiromani Akali Dal is a blessing in disguise, says Sukhbir Singh Badal

In an interview to HT, the Akali Dal chief says including Muslims on list of communities eligible under CAA will only earn goodwill.

Ramesh Vinayak

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 16 June 2020. Terms ties with ally BJP perfect as the partners have nothing to do with politics of give or take, which is why there’s no crisis like the one with Shiv Sena.

Unlike the other allies of the ruling National Democratic Alliance, the Shiromani Akali Dal remains unruffled by the ferment over the controversial Citizenship ( Amendment) Act.

But, at the helm of the country’s oldest regional party, now in its centenary year, Sukhbir Singh Badal, 58, has to look over his shoulders for other reasons: An internal revolt led by Akali stalwart and Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa who, recently joined by his son and MLA Parminder Singh, has emerged as a rallying figure for anti-Badal Akalis and disparate Sikh factions, all fancying themselves as a third force in Punjab politics.

The unfolding upheaval, now potentially at a tipping point, poses the most serious challenge that Sukhbir has faced since his elevation as the party president in 2008.

Which explains why he has lately been in an overdrive to keep his flock together and burnish his Panthic credentials. Combative against rivals and cautious on the citizenship law, Sukhbir spoke to Hindustan Times at his sparsely-furnished MLA flat in Chandigarh on Wednesday.

Edited excerpts: Q: You are an ally of the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre. Is there is a case for reconsidering the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act ( CAA) in view of opposition parties’ concerns and street protests across the country?

A: I am not for a re-think. My party’s view is that CAA should mention ‘minorities’ instead of naming religious communities. Nobody in the country should feel that they have been omitted or left out.

Q: But, other NDA allies, chiefly Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik who had supported the bill in the Parliament, have refused to implement CAA?

A: I cannot comment on other allies or on their agenda and why are they changing their decision now because every state has its own perspective. Akali Dal has been sticking to its position right from the beginning. In Punjab, there may not be a case of Pakistani Muslim seeking Indian citizenship due to persecution, but we are for considering that on case-to-case basis.

Even if we put the Muslims on the list of communities eligible under the CAA, it does not make any difference, but will earn you the goodwill.

Q: But, you only expressed an opinion and never took a stand on inclusion of Muslims.

A: We are suggesting that even now. We fought for the Sikhs of Pakistan and Afghanistan who stand to gain
citizenship. We cannot jeopardise their rights now.

Q: The Amarinder Singh government has taken a clear stand against CAA-NRC and NPR, saying it will not implement in Punjab?

A: Captain sa’ab (chief minister Amarinder Singh) cannot take any stand. He is governed by the directions of the Gandhi family.

Q: His government is likely to bring a resolution against the CAA in the assembly session. What will be Akalis’ stand?

A: That is just a PR exercise. We will stick to the position that we took in Parliament. That is, we should include Muslims in the CAA beneficiaries.

Q: What do you make of unrelenting protests across the country?

A: Lot of politics has started coming into it. Now, it is one-upmanship. It is difficult to judge the real sentiments of the people because everybody has jumped onto the CAA bandwagon. Everybody is looking at his own interest now.

Q: Should the Modi government reach out to dissenters? As an ally, what will be your advice?

A: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a seasoned politician. May be they are trying (to reach out). How can I advise? They themselves have a lot of advisers. Why should I get into it?

Q: There is a perception that the CAA represents an aggressive Hindutva which has accentuated a sense of anxiety among minorities, especially Muslims.

A: Look, this country belongs to everybody. Sikhs are the most liberal of them. Our Guru made a sacrifice for other religions. Going by the philosophy, a Muslim is as Indian as a Hindu or a Sikh. That is the idea of India. No government should make anybody feel insecure.

I gave example of my father Parkash Singh Badal in the Parliament. Every community felt that he is their leader. He developed religious places of all communities. These are the ways which give people confidence. It is duty to the government to make every community feel that it is part of India.

Q: The opposition says the CAA goes against the secular grain of the Constitution.

A: A lot of political games have started at this moment. Every political party has jumped in to take advantage of the situation from all sides. In such a ‘khichdi’, the common man’s views are not coming out. Let there be a stop to all this. If the politics (over CAA) continues, it will create more problems for the nation.

Q: How satisfied is the Akali Dal with the current consultative mechanism in the NDA?

A: Consultation should be more than what it is now. Because lot of issues crop up in a nation as complex as India. Even I have requested the BJP president that the NDA constituents should meet regularly.

If not all of them together, they can be called individually or region-wise, because each partner has its own issues. That way, a lot of feedback can come up.

Q: Perception is that the BJP is taking Akalis for granted?

A: Nobody can take us for granted. The Akali Dal has its own history and commitments. Our relationship with the BJP is perfect. We have no problem. It has nothing to do with politics of give or take. That is why our relationship has not got into crisis like the one the BJP had with the Shiv Sena. We respect their turf and they respect ours.

Q: SAD is facing a fresh bout of rebellion led by its veteran face Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and his son Parminder. How do you look at their challenge to your authority?

A: Their action is a blessing in disguise for the party. They were long discarded by the people. Churning takes place in every party. But, we have gone from strength to strength. Both Dhindsa and Ranjit Singh Brahampura had credited me for winning the assembly elections in 2007 and 2012. They are the ones who had proposed and seconded my name as the party president.

My father never said no to them for anything. Nor did I. Sangrur and Tarn Taran were the traditional Akali bastions. But, in last 30 years, they became the most unsafe constituencies for Akalis. That was because of non-performance and autocratic conduct of Dhindsa and Brahampura.

Q: But, they accuse you of running party un-democratically like a dictator.

A: If all senior leaders are in the core committee and Mr Dhindsa himself was in it, how can he say it is undemocratic? What is the parameter for a politician’s credibility? If he wins elections, it means people like him. If he doesn’t, they don’t like him. Dhindsa sa’ab, who now calls himself a tall leader, has been a serial loser for last thirty years.

He had lost even in 1997 when the party had swept the assembly polls. But, every time he lost, Badal sa’ab still put him in the position of power, whether it was chairmanship of power board or planning board.

Last time, we had promised a Rajya Sabha seat to Daljit Singh Cheema because he was denied the ticket. But, when Dhindsa lost, he demanded the Rajya Sabha nomination which my father agreed to, denying Cheema his due. Was the party undemocratic then?

Likewise, when Parminder lost the Lok Sabha elections last year from his family’s home turf, I made him the leader of legislature party. Was I dictator then? The dictatorship of Dhindsa sa’ab can be judged from the fact he didn’t allow his son to take a decision on his political future and told him that ‘either you leave the Badals or I will disown you’.

Q: Your detractors say the Akali Dal under you abandoned the Panthic ideology and agenda.

A: Did they say all this when they were enjoying power as Akalis? They have stabbed Panth in the back and are now projecting themselves as more Panthic than us. Dhindsa sa’ab is now aligning with Paramjit Singh Sarna who is a Congress member. He is saying all this under frustration. The Brand Dhindsa was built by the party. He wants me to resign for the party’s defeat in 2017.

Did he resign as secretary general when he lost six elections? Did Parminder resign when he lost the Lok Sabha polls by two lakh votes and came third in is bastion Sangrur. I and my wife won the Lok Sabha polls. So, who is Panthic? Those elected by the Panth or ones rejected?

Q: Is the SAD staring at another split?

Not at all. When Manpreet Badal left us, everyone said the party will split. Individuals can’t destroy a party. The Shiromani Akali Dal is bigger than thousand individuals. If I leave the party, Sukhbir Singh Badal will be finished but SAD will be there. If someone wants to be a human bomb and destroy the party, we will give our life but never allow that.

Q: But, the Dhindsas and Taksalis want to free SAD from the Badals and revive its old glory.

A: My father has served the party for seven decades and became chief minister five times because of his credibility with the people and the Panth. I have been chosen the party president for the third time by delegates elected by 47 lakh members.

Why do they need to free Akali Dal from an elected president? Why don’t they start their own party ? Let’s see how many people go with them. They are not Akali Dal Taksali. They are Akali Dal ‘nakli’(fake).

Q: Do you see the breakaway Akalis forging a third front ahead of the 2022 assembly polls?

A: Today people go on credibility. If you look at the list of Taksali leaders, they never won elections in 30 years. People had a very bad experience with the third front in 2017. People want future of Punjab. Can you name one thing that Amarinder Singh has done for the state in last three years?

When in power, we never said ‘khazana khaali’ (empty coffers). This is the defence of incompetent rulers.

Q: The probe into the sacrilege cases is still hanging over your head.

A: We are not scared because we have not done anything wrong. Lies will always be lies.

Q: Captain has hinted that he is here to stay and may again lead the party in the 2022 assembly polls.

A: I am very happy for him. People of Punjab will decide whether they want him to stay or not. And the way he is performing, they have surely made up their mind to retire him.

Badal Sahib refers to Akali Dal or Sikh principles. If he really believes in those principles he should break the alliance with the BJP, a party whose ‘principles’ are 100% against the teachings of our Gurus !
Man in Blue

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/exit-of-dhindsas-from-shiromani-akali-dal-is-a-blessing-in-disguise-says-sukhbir-singh-badal/story-5D7ROh1RW6YPC7Xlh5gESL.html

Hindustan Times – Canada, Oz gurdwaras start free langar tiffin service for students

The 24-hour service is underway at Surrey, to be launched at Plumpton in Melbourne today

Surjit Singh

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 28 December 2019. In a noble gesture, Sikh organisations and gurdwara managements in Canada and Australia have started free packed langar service for students from India.

The service is underway at Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, Surrey, in Canada since October and students of all faiths are availing it. Special arrangements have been made to prepare food packets at the langar hall of the gurdwara so that students can carry them easily to their residence, school or place of work.

“Students, especially from Punjab, study overseas away from their families for bright future. They have to face a lot of hardships here. So, our committee has decided to help them, which is the mission of our faith,” said Hardeep Singh Nijjar, president of the managing committee of the gurdwara.

He said: “Most of these students don’t know how to make roti. Ready made dishes such as pizza or burger prove costly for them. Secondly, they are short of time to prepare meal for themselves since they have to cover long distances to attend classes and also go for work for earning money.

Sometimes, many of them sleep without food. Keeping these problems in view, free tiffins are being provided to the needy students as per their requirement.”

“These students are our future and it is our duty to help them,” said gurdwara secretary Bhupinder Singh.

The langar hall is open round the clock and students come here to collect food packets even at night after they get free from work. “We distribute around 100 food packets to students on a given day.

Not only Punjab, students from other states across India are availing this facility,” said Charanjit Singh Sujjon, caretaker of the gurdwara, who also serves food in the langar hall. “Ever since the gurdwara started this service, sangat has increased contribution for the langar,” he added.

Other gurdwaras in Canada are also planning to start this service.

This idea of serving the international students has now been adopted by Sikh bodies in Australia too, where this service will be started at Gurdwara Dal Baba Bidhi Chand Jee Khalsa Shaoni, Plumpton, in Melbourne on Sunday to commemorate the martyrdom of Chaar Sahibzaade (four sons of Guru Gobind Singh) and Mata Gujri (mother of Guru Gobind Singh).

A Sikh organisation, Sikh Volunteers, will also join the humanitarian cause on January 5, the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh.

Gurdarshan Singh, a representative at Plumpton gurdwara, said: “Considering busy study and work schedule of international students, the service has been launched with the cooperation of sangat.”

“An online system and mobile application has also been introduced to register the needy students for this service,” said Gurtej Singh, a community activist in Melbourne.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/chandigarh/canada-oz-gurdwaras-start-free-langar-tiffin-service-for-students/story-hXP43lvsYYQLMdBUBmaqEO.html

Hindustan Times – Exhibit on Sikhism at Chandigarh church to spread message of brotherhood

Schools from around the tricity have been visiting the exhibition every day, along with hundreds of people across all faiths and walks of life

Rajanbir Singh

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 25 December 2019. While the country is undergoing ideological division, the churches of Chandigarh are spreading the message of love and brotherhood on Christmas this year.

Epitomising this, an exhibition organised at the Christ the King Cathedral in Sector 19 is sporting an exhibit to celebrate first Sikh master Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary, along with listing out similarities between the two faiths.

Bishop Ignatius Mascarenhas of the Roman Catholic Church, Shimla and Chandigarh Diocese, said, “Christmas has become commercial over the years, but things like wealth and power are transitory. Society is creating more and more divisions these days, but we want to highlight the good in people. Loving others and sharing a sense of brotherhood with everyone is what truly makes an individual happy.”

The exhibit on Sikhism at the Sector 19 church, which as per the attendants has drawn most crowds, congratulates the Sikh community on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. It has an illuminated model of the Golden Temple, and a banner describes the cardinal values of the 10 Sikh gurus and the Guru Granth Sahib.

Brother Laxmikant from Orissa and brother Joy from Kanyakumari explain that before changing things on the outside, internal change is necessary: “The path taken by apostles Zacchaeus and Paul, and their metamorphosis is highlighted in the exhibits and we aimed to make the visitors reflect on their choices.”

The exhibition was inaugurated on December 18 by the chief justice of Punjab and Haryana high court, Ravi Shankar Jha. Schools from around the tricity have been visiting the exhibition every day, along with hundreds of people across all faiths and walks of life.

City markets decked up for festival

All major markets of the city have been elaborately decorated to usher in Christmas. The tallest Christmas tree, at 40 feet, is installed at VR Punjab mall. Sector 17 too has gone all out to celebrate the festival. There is a 32-feet tall Christmas tree in the plaza near Neelam theatre, and the surrounding trees have been lit up. A host of cultural activities are taking place at the plaza in the evening.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/chandigarh/exhibit-on-sikhism-at-chandigarh-church-to-spread-message-of-brotherhood/story-VNiM4EXq9KgJ0WXhuH0BOK.html

Hindustan Times – Controversial Discourses: Sikh preacher Dhadrianwale, aide banned in UK gurdwaras

Sikh bodies, gurdwara managements in UK urge Akal Takht to take strong action against him

Surjit Singh

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 22 December 2019. Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale and his aide Harinder Singh have been banned by managements of various gurdwaras and other Sikh bodies from addressing religious congregations in the United Kingdom (UK) due to their controversial discourses.

A meeting of representatives of more than 50 gurdwara managements and other Sikh organisations held at Gurdwara Sri Har Rai Sahib, West Bromwich, on Saturday passed a resolution in this regard.

“Earlier, small meetings were held in different areas in UK to discuss the issue. In Saturday’s meeting, representatives of around 100 Sikh bodies from across the country were present,”, said Gurmel Singh Kandola, former president of Sikh Council UK, which is a common platform of various Sikh bodies in the country.

“It was need of the hour to address this issue as it has potential to yield bad results for Sikhs,” he said while speaking to HT over phone.

Other countries urged to follow suit

In a resolution passed on the occasion, it is stated, “Harinder Singh of Nirvair Khalsa jatha (NKJ) and Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale are both banned from doing parchar in presence of Guru Granth Sahib or otherwise anywhere in UK. The panthic meeting requests that other countries consider following suit”.

“Sangat is appealed to not to book either of them for parchar at any event and to avoid inadvertently increasing their unnecessary exposure on the social media. Gurdwara committees are directed not to book either of them for any event,” it added.

“All Sikh media (print, radio, TV etc) are reminded of its panthic responsibilities and strongly requested not to give either of them any unnecessary exposure. Sri Akal Takht Sahib is aware of the issues and is humbly requested to take strong action against both of them in line with Sikh traditions,” the resolution said.

“Until Akal Takht Sahib has taken its decisions, no individual, organisation or gurdwara committee member should have any liaison with them and maintain discipline of the social boycott (sic),” it said.

The meeting supported formation of a panel to deal with all issues related with preachers in a “fair and equal way based upon agreed principles”.

Kandola said, “The gathering which included gurdwara and organisational representatives from diverse backgrounds desire to maintain harmony in the community, minimise divisions, build faith in fundamental tenants of Sikh faith and enhance spiritual practices. We want all preachers to exercise discipline and avoid controversial issues that divide sangat and create disharmony.”

Randhir Singh, a UK-based Sikh activist, said, “Representatives of various Sikh organisations and managements who could not attend the meeting sent their written consent to the resolution passed in the gathering”.

The controversy

Notably, Harinder Singh had made comments on the Sikh beliefs regarding passing away of Guru Nanak, which has been highly objected to by the Sikh masses.

Dhadrianwale recently refused to meet the five-member panel of Sikh scholars, which was constituted by the Takht to probe his controversial discourses.

On Saturday, Sarchand Singh, spokesperson of Damdami Taksal, sent a legal notice to Dhadrianwale and an online channel which telecasts his videos, asking them to apologise before Takht in 15 days.

I am no fan of self-appointed holy men like this Ranjit Singh, but I hope that in further articles on the subject there will be clear explanations about the ‘controversial statements’.
Man in Blue

https://www.hindustantimes.com/chandigarh/controversial-discourses-sikh-preacher-dhadrianwale-aide-banned-in-uk-gurdwaras/story-7SWeeHZUzWKQGqpJRYtM2H.html

Hindustan Times – Sikh Uber driver racially abused, strangulated by passenger in US

Bellingham – Washington – USA, 10 December 2019. A Sikh Uber driver in the US was racially abused and strangulated by a passenger, a media report said.

The incident took place in the coastal city of Bellingham, Washington, on 05 December when the Sikh driver picked up Grifin Levi Sayers, The American Bazaar reported on Monday citing The Bellingham Herald as saying in a report.

The same day, the Bellingham Police received a 911 call from the driver that he had been attacked by his passenger.

The police arrested and booked 22-year-old Sayers on suspicion of second-degree assault and a failure-to-appear warrant for fourth-degree assault. According to police records, he was released on $13,000 bail the next day.

The driver told the police that Sayers took the cab to make some purchases and then returned to the pick-up location. It was at this point that the passenger became abusive and grabbed the driver by his throat and squeezed it violently.

He also made racial comments about the driver’s ethnicity.

The driver somehow managed to get out of the cab and made a 911 call. When the police arrived, they were able to locate Sayers nearby and arrested him.

Hate crimes against Sikhs in the US have always been on the radar for civil rights and minority groups, The American Bazaar said.

A report released just last month, identified Sikhs as the third largest most targeted groups in the country after Jews and Muslims.

Anti-Sikh hate crimes rose by a whopping 200% since 2017, according to an FBI report.

Even as Sikh groups and minority organisations continue to make attempts to educate Americans on Sikhism and the tenets of its faith, Sikhs are often mistakenly targeted because of their turbans.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/sikh-uber-driver-racially-abused-strangulated-by-passenger-in-us/story-zZppVqpSHezbCni6g70hHL.html

Hindustan Times – Kartarpur travel not allowed, US citizen creates scene at ICP

His travel documents were not complete

HT Correspondent

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, A young Sikh US citizen created a scene at the Integrated Check Post (ICP) here on Friday when he was denied passage to Kartarpur Sahib as his travel documents were not complete.

According to the information, Amritpal Singh, 23, went to the immigration counter and showed the slip that he had applied online for travel to Kartarpur Sahib. When the officials asked for the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) slip, he failed to produce that.

He argued with the immigration officials and created a scene after which the officials called the BSF, who took him out of the ICP.

It is also learnt that officials of the IB also questioned him and later he was handed over to Batala police.

Batala SSP Opinderjeet Singh Ghuman said they were investigating. During preliminary questioning, the police found nothing objectionable. “If the immigration officials lodge a complaint against him, action will be taken accordingly, otherwise, he will be released soon,” he said.

Amritpal has a valid passport and Oversees Citizen of India (OCI) card and after showing these cards. As per the guidelines, a foreign national is allowed to travel only if he/she has the OCI card and once the application is received online, ETA is issued, which is necessary for the pilgrimage.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/kartarpur-travel-not-allowed-us-citizen-creates-scene-at-icp/story-wKSVvycfqxsV5VJEPnvQ1M.html