London – 15 September 2015
It has been reported that the Europe India Forum (EIF) is planning a huge reception for the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi at Wembley Stadium on Friday 13 November as part of the ‘UK Welcomes Modi’ initiative. EIF and the Indian High Commission in London have been openly appealing for partners to join and support the initiative and there have been rumours surrounding some of the largest Gurdwaras in the country.
At least 400 organisations, almost exclusively Hindu and Indian organisations, including some controversial right wing Hindu groups, have registered and been ‘approved’ to become ‘Welcome Partners’. However, the organisers and the Indian High Commission will be hugely disappointed that only a handful of Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations have registered.
Only seven Gurdwaras, of which five are in London, of the estimated 250-300 Gurdwaras in the UK are registered partners. None of the major Gurdwaras are on the list that has been published. The seven Gurdwaras listed as ‘welcome partners’ are: Ealing Gurdwara; Gurdwara Guru Amardas Ji, Leicester; Miripiri Gurdwara, Southall; Nanak Darbar (North London); Nanaksar Satsang Sabha, Southall; Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha, Southall and Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Letchworth. Sangat or even some management committees at many of these Gurdwaras may be unaware that their Gurdwara has been registered as a welcome partner and we may see some of them try to withdraw as partners.
There also no huge surprises in the list of six Sikh organisations that have registered to be ‘welcome partners’ as they are led by those who are clearly not just pro-Indian, but pro-right wing Hindu fundamentalism. None of the major recognised Sikh organisations are on the list that has been published. The six Sikh organisations listed are: City Sikhs Network; Sikh Arts and Cultural Centre; Sikh Leisure Centre, Huddersfield; Sikh Welfare Society, Ilford; The British Sikh Association; and The Sikh Forum International & Guru Nanak International Education Trust. Some members, particularly of the City Sikhs Network will be horrified to see them listed. Recently some of those running the organisation have come in for increasing criticism on social media for the perverse religious views that are inconsistent with the Sikh way of life.
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)