Indianapolis, Apr 19: Sikhs Political Action Committee Chairman Gurinder Singh Khalsa has expressed deep concern over the recent clash at Gurdwara Shri Guru HarGobind Sahib Ji – Greenwood, Indianapolis. He described the incident ‘unfortunate’.
SikhsPAC, an organization that represents more than 10,000 American Sikhs who live in Indiana and more than 3,500 Sikh-owned businesses in Indiana.
In a statement Gurinder Singh Khalsa, who originally belongs to Kurukshetra (Haryana, India) said “I am speaking to you today to comment on a very sad situation that occurred at the Sikh Temple in Greenwood this past weekend. The situation happened after a regularly scheduled leadership election, when the old governing committee resisted stepping down and letting the new committee take control. There was a great deal of shouting and name calling – and some minor violence … and the situation was dealt with at the temple.”
Sikhs all over the nation condemned this behaviour which is against everything. “We are believing. This in not what Sikhs stand for. Sikh values are American values. Sikhs are peace-loving people who believe in selfless service.”
Gurinder Singh Khalsa said, “This reminds me of the great quote of Mother Teressa. She once said what you spent years in building, some one can destory overnight. And that is what has exactly happened there.”
However, describing this as an isolated incident, Mr Khalsa said ” It does not reflect the values and principles of the Sikh faith.
“As we all know that Kanwal Prakash Singh, who is Hoosier for half a century, has worked tirelessly to promote Sikh values of equality and service to others here in Indiana,”
Giving reasons for the clash, Mr Khalsa said “The situation happened after a regularly scheduled leadership election, when the old governing committee resisted stepping down and letting the new committee take control. He praised the role of the police to control the situation and working hard to maintain peace.
There were heated arguments and physical clashes and name calling which resulted in minor injuries to four persons. On receiving the report around the Police immediately reached the spot and controlled the situation.
Mr Khalsa said “It is my understanding that there were no weapons used during the altercation. As part of our tradition, men carry ceremonial daggers on various occasions much like other religions carry or wear symbols representing their faith. However, these daggers were not used for violence or intimidation. I understand that the violence consisted primarily of verbal taunts and some pushing and shoving. Weapons were not used.”
Mr Khalsa further said “Instead, we’ve worked hard to become peaceful and contributing residents of Indianapolis, the entire state of Indiana, and this great country. We contribute through business opportunities, hard work, and service to our fellow men and women.
“We’ve spent years becoming a noble part of this community – and we are sad that one unfortunate event could hurt our relationship with our fellow Hoosiers.”
“On behalf of the Sikh community, I extend our sincerest apologies for the problems that occurred – and I reassure you that we are committed to positive, peaceful and productive lives now and into the future,” concluded Mr Khalsa.
Mr Khsala also said that he had received a tide of reactions on Facebook after the statement. UNI