NEW YORK: The management committees of 96 Sikh Gurdwaras across the United States (US) has decided to ban the entry of Indian diplomats and 'individuals representing Indian interests' in Sikh places of worship.
They have also been prohibited from participation in the annual parades coinciding with the birth of the Khalsa, according to a press release.
The decision was made through a unanimously adopted resolution of the committees, which cited the 1984 Indian Army attack on the Golden Temple (the holiest place of worship for the Sikhs), and the massacre that followed it, as reasons for the move.
The press release also said that the labeling of Sikhs as Hindus, under Article 25 of the constitution in the Hindu-majority country, is also an affront to their community.
The resolution was spearhead and moved by the Sikh Coordination Committee of East Coast (SCCEC) and American Gurdwara Prabhandik Committee (AGPC), the two largest umbrella organizations of Sikhs in the US.
It was also backed by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) a human rights and advocacy group which is seeking a non-binding referendum in the State of Punjab to create an independent Sikh country called 'Khalistan'.
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"The diplomats represent the same Indian government which is responsible for the genocidal violence of Sikhs and has given impunity to Indian police officials who have committed torture and extra judicial killings of Sikhs," SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said in support of the ban.
Pannun was of the opinion that the presence of Indian diplomats in Gurdwaras force the members of the persecuted Sikh community to relive the terrible trauma of 1984 yet again.
"Indian government is responsible for the June 1984 military invasion of Sri Harmandir Sahib, genocidal violence against Sikhs in November 1984, and decades-long extra judicial killing of Sikhs across Punjab," the resolution states.
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"This historic decision (of banning the entry of Indian diplomats) will also expose members and organizations in our midst who have been supporting the Indian regime for the last three decades," Himmat Singh, a representative of the committees, said in his statement.
"Under the cover of community outreach, the Indian diplomats are creating an atmosphere of intimidation among the Sikhs who have taken refuge US, Canada, England and European nations from the constant persecution they suffer in India," Avtar Singh Pannu, member of the AGPC, remarked while talking to the media.
"After the US, we will campaign to ban the entry of Indian diplomats across European nations as well. Activities of the Indian diplomats have created disharmony and discontent among the peaceful Sikh community," Pannu added.