Fringe Elements Spreading Hate, Says Ministry of External Affairs Over Gurdwara Ban in Canada, Other Countries

A majority of the Sikh community in Canada and other countries share a warm emotional bond with India, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.


India takes no cognizance of fringe elements, which spread hate and communal disharmony, the Ministry of External Affairs said in response to the “ban” announced on the entry of Indian officials by gurdwara officials in the Sikh places of worship in Canada and the United States.

“Our sense is that the vast majority of the Sikh community in Canada and in many other parts of the world share a very warm relationship and an emotional bond with India,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said while replying to a question on the issue on Jan.11. The ministry has seen several reports regarding such notifications coming from various gurdwaras, which is the doing of fringe elements, he said, adding that Sikhs in different countries, in fact, want better relations between India and their country of residence.

Several gurdwaras in Ontario, Canada, announced on Dec. 30, 2017, that Indian government representatives on official business will not be allowed to enter their premises across the province, saying that they interfere in the lives of the Sikh community in the country.

The decision was taken by the Ontario Gurdwaras Committee (OGC) at the Jot Parkash Gurdwara at Brampton. Following in their footsteps, the Sikh Federation United Kingdom (SFUK) on Jan. 5 announced a similar ban on visits by Indian officials in gurdwaras in the country. However, India’s Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dinesh Patnaik, visited a South hall-based gurdwara in West London and met the members of the community.

On Jan. 7, 96 gurdwaras in the United States also followed suit and banned the entry of Indian diplomats and officials in the gurdwaras. The resolution was led by the American Gurdwara Prabhandik Committee (AGPC) and Sikh Coordination Committee of East Coast (SCCEC).

Many from the Sikh community, however, criticized the move. Harmeet Kalka, the vice president of Delhi’s Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, said that nobody can be stopped from visiting a gurdwara. “This is absolutely wrong. Their thoughts and opinions are wrong when it comes to religion because in our religion, nobody is stopped to visit to the Gurudwara,” she said, reported ANI, adding that the issue can be solved through talks.

Many others from the Sikh community also slammed the ban imposed on Indian officials and expressed their views on the social media.

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