For: Coalition of Gurudwaras of California and,
Sikhs for Preservation of Sikhism and Sikh heritage
Los Angles, CA – Sikhs in California are distraught at the ransacking of the offices of a Mohali based Punjabi daily; Spokesman on September 29th, 2007 by the Nari Shakti Jagriti Samiti (NSJS), a Non Government Organization (NGO), associated with Nurmahal based Divya Jagriti Sansthan. The members of NSJS led by its district president Ms. Gurwinder Kaur went on a rampage and destroyed the office of the Newspaper at Nirmal Complex near Namdev Chowk in Jalhandhar. A mob consisting mainly of women went on a targeted mission and destroyed the offices of the Newspaper at Patial and Ludhiana as well. According to Ms. Gurwinder Kaur the Newspaper is engaging in spreading false news pertaining to the activities of the NGO. An onlooker, speaking in anonymity said that the Newspaper had been enlightening the public regarding the intended nefarious functioning of the NGO and its activists. The contents of the Newspaper pertaining to anti Sikhs, Ashutosh Maharaj of the Noormahal, have always dealt with the religious issues affecting Sikhs but members of the NGO with the support of the politicians are making this a political issue said a bystander.Exploitation of Religion for the benefit of politics is the norm of political parties and their leaders in Punjab. The Congress party, and the Akalis are openly courting rouges affiliated with Deras and are busy splitting the Sikhs by supporting non-Sikh religious ruffians. The Sikhs of Baba Nanak should wake up and dissociate themselves form each and every political party and its members to send a message that they are fed up with the business as usual. Current political and social scene is a proof enough that the Temporal and Spiritual seat –Akal Takhat and Golden Temple – are being commandeered by secret agencies under the directive of the State and Central Governments. In Punjab, keeping the Sikhs divided is in the best interest of all politicians because they stand a better chance to get elected into office by non-Sikh majority that is largely illiterate and aligned with the radical Punjabiata and Hindutva movement.
Members of Coalition of Gurudwaras of California and the watch dog group, Sikhs for Preservation of Sikhism and Sikh heritage, were also perturbed at MP Navjot Singh Sidhu who on September 30th 2007 released a book titled “Bahadur Banda Bairagi” at a function held in Chandigarh. In the eighteenth century Banda Singh Bahadur (1670 – 1716) was born Lachman Dev at Rajoauri in Kashmir and became ascetic at age fifteen. He joined Bairagi Ram Das and was given the name Madho Das. He was administered the vows of Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh and transformed into a Sikh named Banda Bahadur. He then became the most revered martyr in the history of Sikhism. According to member of the coalition and the watch dog group anti Sikh ministers including MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and the Punjab health minister, Ms. Laxmi Kanta Chawla, who presided over the function are continuing their assault on Sikhism and actively participating in distorting Sikh literature to rewrite Sikh history. The book by Prof Netrapal Singh, who is a reader in the English department at Lucknow University, has tried to explore the forces that give rise to terrorism with specific reference to India. At the function, as reported by Tribune India September 30th, 2007, Sidhu said “terrorism was a universal problem, but India was particularly affected by it”. He further went on to say that “Terrorism is rooted in religion and several Muslim nations are grappling with it. They are, however, not firm in their opposition of radicals, who are fanning religious fundamentalism for their personal ends”. Addressing the unconventional tools being used by people in power in Punjab to malign Sikhism, the members were not surprised at Mr. Sidhu’s statements. They said “He is a spokes person of, Bhartiya Janta Party and its affiliate Rashtriya Swamsewak Sangh that propagate anti Sikh sentiment in every sphere of Punjab politics. He is a propaganda machine well oiled by the greasy hands of non Sikh political leaders to annihilate Sikhs and Sikhism from within the boundaries of Indian subcontinent just like Jainism and Budhism”