January 5, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London: In a move that may send both the India’s Ministry of External Affairs and Indian High Commissions across the globe berserk, a United Kingdom based Sikh body called Sikh Federation (UK) is proposing a worldwide ban on Indian Government ‘officials’ from visiting hundreds of Gurdwaras in the diaspora in any official capacity.
In the UK hundreds of thousands of Sikhs go to Gurdwaras each week and the ban could extend to over 100 Gurdwaras, including many of the largest Gurdwaras in the country.
The Indian government will see this as a significant challenge to its authority and will regard the ban extremely seriously as the Sikh Federation (UK) is by far the largest, most prominent and influential campaigning Sikh organisation in the UK and across Europe.
At the weekend the Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO), of which the Sikh Federation (UK) is a member will be discussing the proposed declaration that is due to come into effect later this month. Eight regional Gurdwara Councils across the UK and organisations like the Sikh Council (UK) are also to be approached to encourage Gurdwaras who are members to become signatories to the declaration.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
Sikhs in the diaspora are fed up with Indian Government officials and their agents increasingly interfering in our institutions and Sikh affairs, undermining of Sikh campaigns for greater rights and internal matters for the Sikh community.”
In Germany in recent years we have seen the authorities to their credit collect evidence, make arrests and prosecute agents reporting to Indian government officials on Sikhs who are German citizens.”
“The latest tactic by the Indian authorities of targeting Sikhs from the Diaspora when they visit the Sikh homeland as demonstrated by the case of British citizen Jagtar Singh Johal has broken the camel’s back.”
“We have been in discussions with the British police and government officials in the UK to see whether arrests and prosecutions are possible against agents reporting to Indian government officials. It is clear MI5 has considerable evidence of the activities of these agents, but the political will to make arrests and prosecute is not yet there.”
“We will keep up the pressure for the arrest and prosecution of these agents, but in the meantime the Gurdwara ban is a way of mitigating the problems being created by Indian officials for Sikhs in the Diaspora.”
Recently Gurdwaras the Sikh Federation (UK) associate with in Ontario, Canada started this initiative of the ban that has spread to other parts of Canada and with this latest push is expected to sweep across the diaspora like wild fire.