Ninety-six gurdwaras in the United States have announced that they will not let in Indian officials and diplomats, as well as members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Shiv Sena, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.
The Gurudwara Sikh Cultural Society in New York announced the decision at an event organised to observe the death anniversary of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassins.
“A total of 116 gurdwara management committees participated in a teleconference on Saturday night, and 96 of these gurdwaras confirmed their agreement with a proposal to bar the entry of Indian officials in gurdwaras, along with representatives of the RSS and Shiv Sena,” said Himmat Singh, a representative of the American Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee.
The president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) in the US, Simranjit Singh Mann, as well as US-based rights group Sikhs for Justice, supported the resolution, The Times of India reported.
“We will also initiate legal proceedings against Indian diplomats who try to defy this ban,” said Gurpatwant Sngh Pannun, legal adviser for Sikhs for Justice.
The rights group had filed a case of human rights violation against former Congress President Sonia Gandhi in 2013, accusing her of shielding and protecting Congress leaders complicit in the anti-Sikh riots that followed Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984. An appeals court in the US dismissed the case in 2015.
This decision of the gurudwaras in the US comes a week after 14 gurdwaras in Canada’s Ontario province announced that diplomats and officials representing India would not be allowed to enter the places of worship. On January 4, 16 gurdwaras in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta passed a similar resolution. The Sikh Federation in the United Kingdom, too, proposed a similar ban on Indian officials in gurdwaras in the UK and a few European countries, The Times of India had reported.