December 25, 2023 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New York: “The American Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (AGPC) is deeply disturbed by the recent act of vandalism at Newark’s Hindu Temple. Standing in solidarity with the Hindu community, the AGPC vehemently condemns this crime”, reads a statement issued by AGPC, an umbrella body of Sikh Gurdwaras in United States.
“Reflecting the core principles of Sikh tenets and American values, our community staunchly supports the universal right to practice religion freely and without fear”, AGPC said in statement issued on 24 December 2023 (copy available with Sikh Siyasat News).
“Our commitment to these ideals is deeply rooted in our history, as demonstrated by the ultimate sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, who laid down his life to protect the religious freedom of Hindus. The desecration of any holy place directly opposes these vital principles of religious liberty and mutual respect, fundamental to the fabric of American society. We also bring to the attention of law enforcement recent vandalism incidents in Australia, which occurred around the time of the Khalistan referendum voting”, reads the statement.
“In these cases, the Queensland State Police in Australia noted a lack of cooperation in providing CCTV footage, leading to suspicions about the circumstances surrounding the incidents. The absence of concrete evidence has complicated these investigations, highlighting challenges in addressing such acts of vandalism. In a similar vein, earlier in February, the Ontario Gurdwara Committee made a public appeal, offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for temple vandalism in Ontario”, reads the statement.
“They also requested the release of any CCTV footage related to these incidents. However, in these cases as well, no such footage was provided, which has been a concerning pattern in these investigations. In addition, an incident involving an MP of Indian origin in Canada, who falsely accused the Sikh community of vandalism in Brampton, was later clarified by the Peel Regional Police, stating that the alleged incident never occurred. These developments underline the complexities and sensitivities involved in addressing and correctly interpreting such incidents”, the statement reads further.
“As these events unfold, it’s noteworthy that the Khalistan referendum is scheduled to occur in San Francisco on January 28th. The AGPC encourages anyone with information on these incidents to contact the FBI at 1-800 CALL FBI or the Newark Police Department at 510 578-4965. The AGPC is committed to working alongside law enforcement, community leaders, and diverse faith groups to foster an environment of liberty, justice, and unity. Together, we can uphold the cherished American values of freedom and respect for all”, reads the statement.
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