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US: Sikh body condemns heckling of Indian envoy at New York gurdwara by Khalistani supporters

A few supporters of the Khalistani movement tried to heckle the Indian envoy by making statements about terrorists Hardeep Singh Nijjar and Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. They were escorted out of the gurdwara's premises by members of the Sikh community.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New York Published on: November 28, 2023 10:52 IST
Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu at
Image Source : TARANJIT SINGH SANDHU/X Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu at Hicksville Gurdwara, New York.

After Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu was heckled by pro-Khalistani supporters during a visit to a gurdwara in New York on Sunday, an American Sikh body called the Sikhs of America condemned the incident and urged the management to take strict action against people responsible. They asserted that gurdwaras should be free of personal political views given that they are places of worship.

The Khalistani supporters were later escorted out of the gurdwara's premises in Long Island by members of the Sikh community. According to sources, a few supporters of the Khalistani movement tried to heckle the Indian envoy by making statements about terrorists Hardeep Singh Nijjar and Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, after he received a warm welcome at the Hicksville Gurdwara.

"We urge the management of the Gurdwara Sahib to take strict actions against these miscreants so that peace-loving Sikh Community in New York can come to gurdwaras freely without any fear or pressure," Sikhs of America's founder and chairman Jasdip Singh Jassee and its president Kanwaljit Singh Soni said in a joint statement on Monday.

The statement further said that Sandhu went to the shrine to pray and the management also felicitated him with the Saropa Sahib, after which a handful of miscreants "violated the peace and sanctity of the Gurdwara Sahib" by attempting to disrespect him.

"Sikhs of America, the leading Sikh organisation in the USA, strongly condemns the disrespect of a Sikh devotee, Ambassador of India to USA Taranjit Singh Sandhu in a Gurdwara in Long Island, NY yesterday," it said.

The Indian Ambassador was accompanied by Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal and Deputy Consul General Varun Jeph at the event and spoke on the historical linkages between Sikh Gurus, Sikhs and Afghanistan. During the event, Sandhu assured the members of the Sikh community that Indian diplomats would provide all help and support to them.

Khalistani activities in the US

It is important to mention that Sandhu's recent brush with Khalistani supporters comes amid a rise in extremist activities in countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, the US and Australia. The US witnessed a shocking incident when Khalistani extremists set off an arson attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco in July.

Prior to that, the Indian consulate was also attacked in March, after which India registered a 'strong protest' with the US officials and called for effective measures so that such activities do not occur in the future.

Sandhu is also the second envoy to be heckled by pro-Khalistani supporters in a span of two months. Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Vikram Doraiswami was prevented from entering a gurdwara in Glasgow, Scotland on Albert Drive in late September.

A video was posted on the Instagram handle of 'Sikh Youth UK', in which a man blocked Doraiswami from entering the Glasgow Gurdwara in Scotland and said, "...They are hurting Sikhs in Canada and other places, every Sikh should protest against any Indian Ambassador as we did here in Glasgow."

(with agency inputs)

ALSO READ | US: Indian envoy Taranjit Singh Sandhu heckled by Khalistani supporters at New York gurdwara

 

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