Questions are being raised against Sikh Council UK’s General Secretary Gurmail Singh Kandola’s press release where supposedly a number of Sikh issues were discussed with Indian PM Narendra Modi.
Members of the SCUK have alleged the only issues discussed in the 17 minute meeting was the sovereignty of the Akal Takht and black lists to which Modi replied and agreed in principles that he would consider it on case by case basis.
The individuals who attended the meeting have stated the SCUK Secretary Gurmail Singh Kandola never spoke and did not raise any issues as stated in the press release.
Sources have broken the meeting like this:
17 Minute Meeting:
Head of Gurdwara Southall Malhi spoke for 1 minute
Organizer Dr. Rai spoke for 2 minutes
Modi spoke for 11 Minutes
and Bhai Mohinder Singh spoke for 3 minutes
Letter to SCUK Board Members and Board of Jathedars by Sukhvinder Singh Assistant Secretary General Chair of SCUK Policy group further clarifies the allegations:
Waheguru ji ka Khalsa
Waheguru ji ki Fateah
Dear Members and BOJ members
I have been approached by a number of senior SCUK members to clarify the attendance of SCUK at a meeting with the Indian Prime Minister NK Modi, on 12th November. The SCUK was represented by the Secretary General at that meeting.
The SCUK was set up, to incorporate the Panthic traditions of collective leadership and decisions made by consensus, as practised by our forefathers. This was a digression, from the traditional western influenced methods of setting up and developing Institutions.
The SCUK decision making process is through its general assembly (at a high level) then its executive committee. Operational issues or immediate decisions are made by its leadership team, which includes the office bearers and assistants, with advice and input from the SCUK policy group.
An email was sent to some members of the leadership team, policy group as well as the chair of the SCUK Indian Sub-continent Affairs committee by the Secretary General (SG), on the morning of 11th November. The email stated that the Secretary General would be representing the SCUK in a meeting with Prime Minister Modi and wanted comments on an email he would be sending to the SCUK executive and board of Jathedars, to inform them.
Four senior members, who were sent the email responded by strongly advising against any SCUK attendance at any meeting with Prime Minister Modi. Warning that this was a high risk strategy with little potential outcomes or benefit, and going against the current feeling within the Sikh community and decisions made at Panthic meeting facilitated by SCUK at Sri Guru Singh Sabha on October.
Only two colleagues responded in favour of attending the meeting. Both of these individuals were absent from both Panthic meetings on 3 and 24 October facilitated by SCUK, so had limited knowledge and experience of the content and manner of the meeting (by their own admission). They then went onto a Sikh TV channel to support a meeting with Prime Minister Modi.
So to clarify, the decision to attend the meeting on behalf of SCUK was a personal one and not a collective decision of the SCUK leadership and no consensus was reached to attend. There was also no mandate given from the SCUK membership or Board of Jathedars.
As stated in his email to SCUK members, the Secretary General will explain his reasoning for taking this decision himself at the forthcoming meeting.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, the SCUK facilitated two meetings with the Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO) and Gurdwara representatives, on 3 and 4 October, to discuss the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the UK. This was to develop a common approach /strategy to show a united UK Sikh front.
The Secretary General and I were present at both meetings along with other senior members of the SCUK. At the first meeting those wishing to enter into a dialogue with the Indian Government and PM Modi, were given time to explore the options available and issues were agreed that must form part of any agenda. They were also told that any meeting would only be confirmed and a mandate given, once they provided feedback at a follow up meeting. The other condition was that the Indian Government would make some type of announcement of goodwill on some of the issues, before the Prime Minster left India for his UK visit, to ensure that this would not be used as a publicity stunt by them.
At the second meeting, there was no feedback from those that had mooted the idea of a meeting. It was therefore agreed that no one was to be given any Panthic mandate to meet PM Modi, especially those that were in attendance at this meeting. This clarifies that in addition to no mandate from SCUK membership, there was also no mandate from the Panth.
The press release issued after the meeting with Prime Minister Modi, was also not issued as per the SCUK process and included factual inaccuracies that can be explained at the forthcoming meeting.
I and i am sure the majority of the SCUK membership are not against any dialogue or meeting to raise Sikh issues. However without the proper consultation and goodwill, such meetings offer nothing but damage and harm to the Sikh cause for which many have spent their entire youthful lives defending, even if the intention was honurable.
I am sure that we can all work together to restore any damage to the integrity, dignity and respect of SCUK, that this incident may have caused. As SCUK, is much larger than any one individual and that includes me.
Waheguru ji ka Khalsa
Waheguru ji ki Fateah
Assistant Secretary General
Chair of SCUK Policy group