– Pardon to Sirsa Chief: Sukhbir Badal Denies Allegations by Giani Gurmukh Singh

Sikh24 Editors

Amrtitsar Sahib-Panjab-India, 29 April 2017. Former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Badal on April 28 paid visit to the sanctum sanctorum Sri Harmandr Sahib along with his wife Harsimrat Badal. He was accompanied by his security personnel.

Interacting with media after paying obeisance at Sri Darbar Sahib, Sukhbir Badal refuted the allegations leveled by former Jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Giani Gurmukh Singh of compelling the Takht Jathedars to grant pardon to Sirsa cult chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.

He said that he never interfered in SGPC or religious affairs of the Sikhs affairs.

Taking on the Congress led Punjab government for failing in delivering onto pre-poll promises, Sukhbir Badal said that the Congress was monopolising the liquor and grain trade in Punjab by overpowering their legislators. He claimed that the law and order situation in Punjab was deteriorating day by day in Punjab.

Sukhbir further said that the Congress had made promise to the Punjab masses of waiving farmers’ debts, raising old age pension to Rs. 2,000 and government job in every household in its poll manifesto but the government has still not fulfilled even a single promise.

Sukhbir Badal taunted that the Congress leaders were behaving like a starved lions who cross every line to satisfy their appetite. He said that the Congress leaders were looting Punjab like they were sure that they will not get back to power later. – Sikh youth conferred ‘Order of the British Empire’ by Prince William

Sikh24 Editors

London-UK, 26 April 2017. London based young Sikh barrister named Jasvir Singh was conferred the award of ‘Order of the British Empire’ at an investiture ceremony at the Buckingham Palace for his services in inter-faith communication and social cohesion.

The ‘Order of the British Empire’ (OBE) is one of the Britain’s highest civilian honours. Jasvir Singh’s family hails from the Doaba region of Punjab.

Singh, who is the chair of City Sikhs and is closely involved in other organisations, has been honoured for services to faith communities and social cohesion in the United Kingdom.

Jasvir Singh received the OBE from Prince William in the Ballroom of the palace, along with two other Sikh recipients, Brinder Singh Mahon, for services to education, and detective sergeant Sarbjit Kaur from the Merseyside Police, for services to policing.

After attending the ceremony Jasvir Singh said that it was a humbling experience. “I met many inspiring people, including scientists, artists, paralympians and various members of the Armed Forces and the Police, and found out about their remarkable achievements,” he added.

He further informed that he also spoke to Prince William and commended him for the work he and his brother, Prince Harry, were doing to help remove the stigma of mental health problems.

It is worth mentioning here that Jasvir Singh was involved in several projects, including the ‘Grand Trunk Project’ led by the Faiths Forum for London, that looks to foster better relationships between communities of South-Asian heritage in towns and cities throughout the country.

His projects also include challenging hate crimes, promoting youth and female empowerment, improving faith literacy in society, and developing collaborative interfaith initiatives. He is considered as a plaintiff of creating positive change in society. – BJP led Municipal Council demolishes Gurdwara in Indore; Police Takes Away Cash, Artifacts and Religious Books

Indore-Madhya Pradesh-India, 24 April 2017. The BJP led Municipal Corporation of Indore forcibly demolished a Gurdwara Sahib named ‘Kartar Kirtan Sahib’ in Indore on April 22. More than 400 Police cops manhandled the Sikh devotees to force them out of the Gurdwara building before demolishing it with the help of bulldozers.

Speaking with Sikh24, a local Sikh devotee Gurpreet Singh informed that on April 22, the police personnel forcibly started mobilizing the Holy Scripture of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji installed in Gurdwara Sahib.

He added that the Sikh sangat who opposed to this move, including women, were manhandled in a brutal way by the Police. In the process, an octogenarian Sikh woman was also seriously injured.

He informed that the Police completely demolished the building of Gurdwara Sahib and took away the 300 years old swords, two silver flower pots, cash of Golak (around Rs. 80,000) and locker (around Rs. 300,000). He added that the Police also took away more than 40,000 books of Gurdwara library.

Sources have informed us that the President of Gurdwara Management Committee Manjit Singh Bhatia was affiliated to BJP and he might be involved in the demolition of Gurdwara Sahib as he was in attempt to get ticket from saffron party for 2018 polls.

Meanwhile, the SGPC President Professor Kirpal Singh Badungar has strongly condemned the act of Indore Municipal Corporation. He has said that the Municipal Corporation should have provided an alternate place to rebuild the building of Gurdwara Sahib.

Professor Kirpal Singh Badungar has written a letter to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chauhan to ensure sentiments of Sikh masses are not hurt.

He also asked the municipal council to provide an alternate place to rebuild the Gurdwara Sahib. He has said that the India was a secular country and sentiments of people belonging to different religions should be respected. – General Election: Sikh Council UK urges increase in selection of Sikh candidates

Sikh Editors

London-UK, 21 April 2017. The Sikh Council UK is urging all political parties to positively select Sikh candidates ahead of the snap General Election.

There are some members of the House of Lords from Sikh background, but no Sikh members of the House of Commons.

Representatives from all the main political parties have spoken of the huge contribution that Sikhs make to British society and have acknowledged the lack of Sikhs in the House of Commons.

Sikh Council UK Secretary General Elect Jagtar Singh said “We call upon the parties to address the glaring lack of Sikhs in Westminster by shortlisting and selecting promising Sikh candidates in winnable constituencies. We will offer support to Sikh candidates who make it through the selection processes”.

Theresa May has called a General Election for 8 June 2017. Polls that indicate she could win a huge Tory majority in Parliament. – Giani Gurmukh Singh dismissed by SGPC

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar Sahib-Panjab-India, 21 April 2017. A day after Giani Gurmukh Singh exposed Sukhbir Badal’s role in granting pardon to Sirsa cult chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the SGPC today dismissed him from his services.

Notably, Giani Gurmukh Singh had unearthed the whole chapter of pardon granted to Sirsa cult chief before the media on 19 April.

Sikh24 has learnt that the head Granthi of Sri Muktsar Sahib Giani Harpreet Singh has been appointed in place of Giani Gurmukh Singh.

It is worth mentioning here that Giani Gurmukh Singh had earlier refused to participate in meeting of SGPC appointed Takht Jathedars at Sri Akal Takht Sahib. He had also raised objections over the closed door meetings of SGPC appointed Takht Jathedars.

He was learnt to be upset over the allegations of acting as a middleman to facilitate pardon to Sirsa cult Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim for which he had sought constitution of a ‘Maryada Committee’ to probe the entire episode of granting pardon to Sirsa cult chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim by the Takht Jathedars on 24 September 2015.

Giani Gurmukh Singh had accused the SGPC appointed Takht Jathedars of always taking decisions under political influence. – French racist politician wants to ban Sikh turbans if wins elections

Sikh24 Editors

Paris-France, 19 April 2017. With the looming French election in less than a month, comments from one of the contenders, leave Sikhs stunned as she passively dismisses their existence.

Marine Le Pen, a French lawyer and politician, and most notably, head of the National Front, an ultra-right-wing party, was questioned about the Sikh turban by an American news channel interviewer, she responded that Sikhs would certainly not be allowed to wear the turban in public.

The interview by the CBS channel’s 60 Minutes show, revolved around Le Pen’s alarmingly prejudiced stances against the Muslim community in France.

She was asked directly if she would allow Sikhs to wear the turban, to which she delivered her unapologetic reply.

When asked if she would allow Muslim people to wear headscarves, Le Pen states, “No, I am opposed to wearing headscarves in public, that’s not France”.

In response to Anderson Cooper’s question if a Sikh person be allowed to wear a turban, Le Pen states, “No, not in public. We don’t have a lot of Sikh people in France. We don’t really hear much from them, or about them, which is good news”.

France is a country that has already banned the wearing of the dastar (turban) in all government buildings and schools since 2004. The Sikh community in France has faced a huge struggle as they campaigned to overturn the ban, with no international support. – Harjit Singh Sajjan: Not worthwhile responding to comments by Punjab CM

Sikh24 Editors

Toronto-Ontario-Canada, 18 April 2017. Ignoring the controversial remark of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the Defence Minister of Canada Sardar Harjit Singh Sajjan has said that it’s not worthwhile to respond to such comments.

He has said that he will pay obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum Sri Harmandir Sahib on April 20 as a common Sikh and doesn’t have any desire to respond to comments by Captain Amarinder Singh when he will be at Darbar Sahib.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had said that he won’t attend the Canadian Defence Minister as he was a ‘Khalistan Sympathizer’. Captain’s statement had drawn sharp flak of Sikh masses as well as his political rivals.

Meanwhile, the senior leader of Shiromani Akali Dal Virsa Singh Valtoha has said that Captain Amarinder Singh was forgetting his duties as a Chief Minister of Punjab. He questioned Captain Amarinder Singh to clear his stance on his brother in law, Sardar Simranjit Singh Mann, who is a staunch Khalistani supporter.

Other senior Akali leaders including Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Balwinder Singh Bhoondarh and Prem Singh Chandimajra have said that the Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was speaking against Sardar Harjit Singh Sajjan at the behest of his party supremo Sonia Gandhi.

They have said that the main reason behind it was the recognition of Sikh massacre committed by Congress led Hindu mobs in 1984 as a ‘genocide’ by the Ontario assembly. – Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan to pay obeisance at Sri Harmandr Sahib on April 20

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar Sahib-Panjab-India, 14 April 2017. The first Sikh Canadian Defence Minister Sardar Harjit Singh Sajjan will pay obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum Sri Harmandir Sahib on April 20. He will reach at Sri Amritsar Sahib in the evening of April 19 and will pay obeisance at the central Sikh shrine on April 20.

As per the program shared by Canadian High Commission, Harjit Singh Sajjan will spend April 20 & 21 in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Chandigarh. Sardar Harjit Singh Sajjan hails from a village in Hoshiarpur district where he still has some relatives.

He will meet his family members during these two days and will also attend a party being hosted by the Canadian High Commission in Chandigarh. On 22 April he will meet the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, along with Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister of India and Army Chiefs in New Delhi.

Sikh24 has learnt that a team of Canadian security officials have reached Sri Amritsar Sahib where the Apex Sikh body SGPC was making special arrangements for the first visit of Sardar Harjit Singh Sajjan after becoming Defence Minister of Canada. The SGPC will also honour the Canadian Defence Minister in a specially organized program.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh has come under fire of Sikh masses for releasing a statement to not attend Sardar Harjit Singh Sajjan by terming him a Khalistan sympathizer. Even the Canadian High Commission has criticized Captain Amarinder Singh for releasing such a statement.

Former Deputy Chief Minister of Panjab and President of Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Badal has termed Captain Amarinder Singh’s stand as an irresponsible act. “Captain’s such stand can affect the bilateral ties between Punjab and Canada,” he added.

Pro-freedom Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa has also questioned Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s remark by saying that if Sardar Harjit Singh Sajjan was a Khalistani sympathiser, then why has India decided to hold talks with him?

Dal Khalsa President Sardar Harcharanjit Singh Dhami has taunted on the Captain’s remark by saying that it would be really interesting and amazing to see Indian leadership engaging and talking with Khalistani sympathizers officially at the diplomatic level. – We Are Sikhs: Million Dollar Ad Campaign to Launch Tomorrow

Sikh24 Editors

Washington DC, 13 April 2017. Following number of hate crime incidents in the country, the National Sikh Campaign project will launch tomorrow on CNN. The campaign focuses on highlighting Sikh identity.

Exclusive ad coverage will air Friday, April 14, on CNN between 6:00-9:00 am EST.

Launch of the ad coincides with Vaisakhi, celebration of the Sikhs that marks the birth of their faith.

Dr Rajwant Singh and Gurwin Ahuja are the founders of the National Sikh Campaign. Both have traveled extensively over the country to raise funds for the projects.

Last year, the National Sikh Campaign project hired AKPD to work changing the narrative around Sikhs in the country. AKPD had ran a successful campaign for President Barrack Obama in the past.

Speaking with Sikh24 about the project, Dr Rajwant Singh explained, “So far, the narrative (around Sikhs) has been focused on bullying and hate crimes. This can be changed. We are working with the organization that was able to put a man with the middle name Hussain in the White House.

This is the same group that has now developed ads for the Sikhs.”

Dr Rajwant Singh said that National Sikh Campaign, along with other leading Sikh organizations, completed research, and based on the results, AKPD designed ads that can raise awareness of Sikhs in America. – Vaisakhi Celebrations at Panja Sahib: Pakistan beefs up security for Sikh pilgrims

Sikh24 Editors

Lahore-Panjab-Pakistan, 11 April 2017. To avail smooth pilgrimage to the Sikh devotees, the Pakistan government is making robust security arrangements. As per an estimate, 4,000 Sikh pilgrims from more than 15 countries are expected to arrive in Pakistan to mark the ‘Vaisakhi’ festival.

Sources have informed that the Pakistan administration has ordered the people residing nearby to Gurdwara Panja Sahib to keep their shops closed during the stay of Sikh pilgrims in the historical Sikh shrine. It has also come to fore that the Sikh pilgrims would not be allowed to roam freely in the market.

Sikh24 has learnt that more than 1,500 security guards have been deployed by the Pakistan government for the security of Sikh pilgrims. Special scanners and metal detectors have also been arranged to check luggage of Sikh pilgrims while letting them enter into historical Sikh shrines.

Every year, thousands of Sikh devotees attend Vaisakhi celebrations at Panja Sahib. Sikh jathas from around the world also pay homage at various other historical Gurdwaras.

Gurdwara Panja Sahib is a historical gurdwara located in Hasan Abdal, Pakistan. The shrine is considered to be particularly important as the handprint of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is imprinted on a boulder at the gurdwara here.

To mark the celebrations, an Akhand Path Sahib will be starting at the shrine. Sikh Sangat and sevadars of the Pakistani Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee will take part in the continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib. Along with Sikh Sangat, SGPC is also sending a group of Ragi Jathas.