Ontario Gurdwaras Ban Entry of Officials Representing India

Indian representatives on official business will be barred from entering the premises of the Sikh places of worship, the Ontario Gurdwaras Committee said.


Ontario gurdwaras have collectively decided that Indian government representatives on official business will be banned from entering 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, a suburb of Toronto, where 30 members of 15 gurdwaras were present, on Dec. 30, 2017. They decided to ban diplomats and other officials representing India from entering gurdwaras in the Greater Toronto Area, the Hindustan Times reported.

Sikhs live predominantly in the Punjab region of India, but are also spread across the world. Many Sikhs in North America have attained important political positions. Many of them left India following the 1984 riots when the community faced violent backlash after Indira Gandhi, the then Indian Prime Minister was killed by her Sikh bodyguard. The community says the Indian judiciary has not given them adequate justice yet.

“Pursuant to the Trespass to Property Act (1990), the management of this Gurdwara Sahib reserves the right to bar entry to officials of the Indian Government including but not limited to Indian elected officials, Indian Consular officials, and members of organizations who seek to undermine the Sikh nation and Sikh institutions,” a statement by the committee said, the publication reported.

“Keeping in mind the interference of Indian Consular and Indian Government officials in the lives of Canadian Sikhs, Gurdwara Management Committees have jointly taken the decision to bar the entry of these officials and members from gurdwaras across Canada,” it said.

“The presence of these officials makes members of the Sikh community uncomfortable due to their agenda of undermining the autonomy of Sikh institutions and organizations. It is our obligation to ensure the safety of the Sangat, and accordingly we have arrived at this decision,” the statement added.

Gurpreet Singh Bal, the president of the Ontario Khalsa Darbar in Mississauga, who was also present during the decision making, told HT that officials won’t be permitted if they tried to enter in their official capacity. They will be allowed to enter for personal reasons, he added.

A pro-Khalistan activist, Sukhminder Singh Hansra, told the publication: “We applaud the decision of Gurdwara Managements to bar Indian High Commission and Indian Consulate as the officials of Indian High Commission (were) directly infiltrating the Sikh affair within Canada.” He further criticized India, saying that consular powers were used to influence Sikhs against their own interests. Another hardline group, Sikhs for Justice, supported the move.

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