Following the path of Canadian gurdwara management committees, 96 gurdwaras in the US banned the entry of Indian government officials or representatives, The Indian Express reported.
RSS and Shiv Sena members are also banned from entering these gurdwaras according to the report.
The decision was taken at a meeting held by Sikh Coordination Committee East Coast (SCCEC) and American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (APGC) in New York on Sunday. The gurdwara management committees held a teleconference to arrive at the decision.
“Total 116 gurdwara management committees had participated in teleconference on Saturday night and 96 of these gurdwaras had confirmed agreement to proposal to bar entry of Indian officials in gurdwaras, along with representatives of RSS and Shiv Sena,” said Himmat Singh, who represents Sikh Coordinator East Cost and American Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee.
The number of gurdwaras following the decision is likely to increase as some of them couldn’t participate in the teleconference due to some technical issues.
According to PTC News, the Indian Army operation in the Golden Temple in 1984, the atrocities experienced by the Sikh’s and labeling Sikhs as Hindus under Article (25) of the Indian Constitution are the important reasons cited for enforcing the ban.
However, officials are allowed to visit the gurdwaras in their personal capacity. “Following Ontario gurdwara committees, we have been making it official that Indian officials will not be allowed for any intervention in management of gurdwaras in US. There will be no ban if someone visit Gurdwaras in personal capacity as devotee,” added Singh.
Last week, 14 gurdwaras in Ontario province of Canada banned the entry of Indian government officials and representatives invoking a local law against trespassing. On January 4, 16 more gurdwaras in British Columbia and Alberta provinces of Canada enforced a similar ban on Indian officials.
The move of Canadian gurdwaras will dampen the efforts of the Indian High Commission in Canada to improve the relationship with the Sikh community.