Canada: 14 Gurdwaras Ban Entry of Indian Government Officials Alleging Interference
Amritsar, Jan 3: Fourteen gurdwara management committees banned the entry of Indian government officials to gurdwaras under their control in Ontario province of Canada. The restriction on Indian government representatives was imposed using a local law against trespassing. The decision was taken at a meeting at Jot Parkash Gurdwara in Brampton on December 30. However, Indian officials will be allowed to pay a personal visit to any gurdwara run by these committees, reports Indian Express.
“Pursuant to the Trespass to Property Act (1990), the management of these gurdwaras reserves the right to bar entry to officials of the Indian Government, including but not limited to Indian elected officials, Indian consular officials and members of organisations who seek to undermine the Sikh nation and Sikh institutions,” read a press note released by the gurdwara management committees. The press note further alleged interference by Indian government officials in gurdwaras’ functioning.
“Keeping in mind the interference of Indian Consular and Indian Government officials in the lives of Canadian Sikhs, gurdwara management committees have jointly taken the decision to bar the entry of these officials and members from gurdwaras across Canada. The presence of these officials makes members of the Sikh community uncomfortable due to their agenda of undermining the autonomy of Sikh institutions and organisations. It is our obligation to ensure the safety of the Sangat, and accordingly, we have arrived at this decision,” it said.
Amarjit Singh Mann, a spokesperson for a gurdwara committee, said the decision was taken after repeated attempts by the Indian High Commission in Canada to interfere in our functioning. “There were many recent incidents in which our Sikh brothers and sisters were being pressurised by Indian High Commission to ensure their intervention in these gurdwaras by hook or crook. So we have ended this chapter by making it official that no Indian representative can enter gurdwara to make speech or organise any function. They can only come here in personal capacity as devotees. We will keep close watch on their activities even if they come as devotees,” Mann was quoted as saying.