NEW YORK – The Sikh Coordination Committee East Coast (SCCEC) and American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (APGC) have claimed that 96 gurdwaras in the United States have resolved to ban the entry of Indian officials. The ban will apply to nagar kirtans, or religious processions, as well.
The move comes days after 14 gurdwaras in Ontario, Canada, banned the entry of Indian diplomatic officials. The UK-based Sikh Federation has also proposed a similar ban. They, however, later clarified that Indian officials could visit the gurdwaras in their personal capacity.
SCCEC and AGPC claim themselves to be the largest umbrella organisations of Sikh gurdwaras in the US. The announcement has been made with support of US-based group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ). “We will also initiate legal proceedings against those Indian diplomats who will try to defy this ban,” said SFJ legal adviser Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
“Indian government officials and any person/s representing the interests of the Indian government, shall not be allowed to enter the US gurdwaras or to participate in any religious programmes,” the resolution reads.
The resolution read out by Himmat Singh, coordinator of SCCEC, before a Sikh gathering at a gurdwara in Richmond Hill, New York, on Saturday said they hold the Indian government responsible for the June 1984 military invasion of Sri Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) and 40 other gurdwaras, among other things.