In recent times, Gurudwaras have become hubs of intolerance, particularly against Hindus. A viral video of a girl stopped from entering Amritsar’s Golden Temple has raised several questions regarding the incident and SGPC’s (Shirmani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee) politics in the matter.
A girl with a tricolour painted on her face stopped from entering Golden Temple
A video that went viral on social media (SM) on April 17 shows a Sikh person being confronted by a man and woman for not permitting a girl to enter the Golden Temple. When they questioned why he stopped her, the man replied that she had a flag painted on her face. When the girl highlighted that it was the tricolour, the Sikh man retorted saying, “This is Punjab, not India”.
After drawing flak on SM, SGPC General Secretary Gurcharan Singh Grewal issued a clarification on the matter. “This is a Sikh shrine. Every religious place has its own decorum…We welcome everyone…We apologise if an official misbehaved…The flag on her face was not our national flag as it didn’t have Ashoka Chakra. It could have been a political flag”, ANI quotes Grewal as saying.
The SGPC is accused of intimidating and forcing the girl and her family to issue an apology as seen in the video above. Furthermore, the matter has also acquired a political shade.
Previous instances of intolerance in Gurudwaras
This is not the first instance when such intolerance has been displayed in a Gurudwara. Here are some instances of Sikh intolerance:
1) July 2021: an armyman was lynched to death at the Gurudwara located at Gurdaspur’s Tibri Road on the intervening night of 1 and 2 July. As per reports, the mob that lynched armyman Deepak Singh was led by the Gurudwara manager. He was beaten up on suspicions of theft when he had gone to the Gurudwara to drink water at around 11 PM.
2) December 2021: a mentally disturbed vagabond who was hungry and looking for food was lynched to death by the sewadars and a mob in a Kapurthala Gurudwara. He was accused of blasphemy. One of the sewadars spotted him in the ground floor kitchen eating chapatis and when he tried to escape out of fear, he was beaten to death.
3) December 2021: a man was lynched to death for alleged blasphemy in Amritsar’s Golden Temple.
4) June 2022: Zomato delivery executive Sagar Singh was brutally stabbed to death by Nihang Sikhs because he was allegedly smoking on the road. Smoking is banned in Sikhism and consuming tobacco or any intoxicant is considered a major transgression. The murder took place in west Delhi’s Tilak Nagar. It is believed they stabbed Sagar in the chest with a kirpan and then smashed his head with bricks.
5) March 2022: an elderly woman from Bihar was brutally thrashed by two Sikh men for allegedly taking out a cigarette within the premises of Amritsar’s Golden Temple complex. Though the woman repeatedly denied the allegations levelled by the Sikh men, they kept tormenting the woman and coercing her into admitting that she was smoking.
6) August 2022: Even the Dalit (SC) Granthi of Malerkotla Gurudwara was not spared. A Granthi of a Gurudwara in Malerkotla District’s Abdullahpur Chuhane village belonging to the SC (Dalit) community was assaulted reportedly by upper caste Sikhs.
The Nihang Sikhs have also targeted the Sindhi Hindu community by attacking their temples where the Guru Granth Sahib was kept. Sindhis have not just returned the Guru Granth Sahibs but also emphasized their Hindu identity. Should Hindus reconsider visiting Gurudwaras till such time that SGPC accepts the problem and fixes the issue?