May 24, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New York, USA (May 24, 2012): Reacting to the recent amendment to Anand Marriage Act, Sikh organizations and Gurudwara Management Committees across North America came together declaring that amendment to Anand Marriage Act is not sufficient to restore the separate status and identity of Sikhism. Sikh bodies demanded amendment to article 25 of the Constitution of India to restore the separate status of Sikhism.
Sikhism is a separate religion and is acknowledged as such throughout the world, except in Indian legal system. Article 25 of the Constitution of India has amalgamated Sikhism into Hindu religion. The demand of separate status for Sikhism under the Constitution has been supported by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) headed by the former Chief Justice of India, Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah which in its report has recommended amended to Article 25 of the Constitution to restore the status of Sikhism as separate religion.
According to Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a human rights advocacy group raising voice for Sikh rights internationally, the recent amendment to the Anand Marriage Act does not establish separate Sikh identity for Sikhs living in India or abroad, as claimed by the proponents of this legislation. Under the Supreme law of the country, Constitution of India, Sikhism continues to remain subjugated as per Article 25 of the Constitution. The demand of Sikh community is an amendment to Article 25 of the Constitution, which is being continuously ignored by the Government of India added attorney Pannun.
Amarjit Singh Mann, spokesperson for Ontario Gurudwaras Committee (OGC), an umbrella organization of Gurudwaras across Canada stated that amendment to Anand Marriage Act is a sham as it fails to give separate identity to Sikhs which is a long standing demand of the community.
According to Dr. Pritpal Singh, Coordinator of American Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (AGPC) consisting of membership from Gurudwaras across America, the amendment to Anand Marriage Act is just an administrative arrangement to register the Sikh marriages and the big issue of Sikh identity still remains to be addressed.
Gurdev Singh Kang, President of Sikh Cultural Society of Richmond Hill, New York, one of the oldest Sikh Gurudwara in the North Eastern United States stated that Sikhs demand Amendment to Article 25 of the Constitution which will grant separate status to Sikhsim and the amendment to Anand Marriage Act fails to meet the demand of Sikh community.
Barjinder Singh Brar, President of Dashmesh Darbar Gurudwara of Cartret, NJ vehemently refuted the impression that recent amendment to Anand Marriage Act satisfies the demand of Sikhs living in North America. Our struggle for separate Sikh identity will continue till an amendment is made to Article 25 of the Constitution of India which usurps the separate status of Sikhism.
Gurmej Singh Haryana, President Baba Makhan Shah Lubana of Richmond Hill, NY stated that Sikhs living in North America will have no benefit from amendment to Anand Marriage Act until Article 25 of the Constitution is amended.
Citing the NCRWC’s recommendation regarding amendment to Article 25, attorney Pannun stated that SFJ with the support of Gurudwaras across North America will launch an international campaign “Amend Article 25” to press upon the Parliament of India to follow the recommendations of NCRWC to restore the separate status of Sikhism.
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