On 14th October 2020, Sri Akal Takth Sahib, the highest spiritual and temporal authority of the Sikh faith conveyed a message to all Sikhs highlighting the sacrileges committed by a Canadian individual, Sarbjit Neel. Neel is also known by other names such as ‘Freedom Singh’ or ‘Sikh Priest’ to the media and general public.

Sri Akal Takth Sahib has instructed sangat in proximity of ‘Freedom Singh’ to work with local authorities and remove from his possession any saroop (published volumes) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. Sikh Council UK welcomes this timely decision.

There has been widespread outrage in the international Sikh community regarding ‘Freedom Singh’ and his wife Leela. They have violated many aspects of Sikh Maryada (Sikh practice) for several years. This includes:

  1. Conducting Anand Karaj at ‘destination-wedding’ venues which is contrary to the ’16th March 1998′ Sandesh (edict) of Sri Akal Takth Sahib.
  2. Conducting interfaith Anand Karaj against the 16 August 2007 Sandesh of Sri Akal Takth Sahib.
  3. Transporting saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee in a suitcase to conduct destination weddings. This is highly disrespectful and does not meet even the basic criteria for the Sikh procedure that is used when Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee is transported.
  4. Attempting to carry out the Anand Karaj of a same-sex couple defying the 16 January 2005 Sandesh of Sri Akal Takth Sahib.

SCUK continues to ‘be guided by the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as interpreted by Guru Khalsa Panth through the institution of Sri Akal Takht Sahib Ji’.

We remain respectful of the sexual orientation and marriage choices of all people. Sikhs believe the message and blessings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee are accessible to all of humanity.

However, the Anand Karaj, like other religious weddings, can only be performed for heterosexual couples adopting the Sikh faith. In the UK, The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 places ‘no compulsion to solemnize’ same sex marriages by religious organisations such as Gurdwaras. In fact, places of worship cannot register to conduct such weddings without the written consent of their governing body.

All Anand Karaj must take place in the Gurdwara, we condemn the transport of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee to inappropriate venues such as hotels, resorts and pubs.

-END –

Surjit Singh Dusanjh

Spokesperson, Sikh Council UKManmagun Singh Randhawa

Assistant Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK    

Media enquiries: 07496505907 / info@sikhcouncil.co.uk

Read Full Statement Here (PDF) Respect for Anand Karaj 201020

Read Latest Guidance (PDF): 16/10/20

Background

The UK is still currently experiencing a public health emergency as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. The second wave of covid-19 is now spreading across Europe, with the UK also being severely affected. In response to this worsening situation, the Government (UK) announced a new three tier system of covid-19 alert for local use as from 12th October 2020:

Level 1- medium        Level 2 – high              Level 3 –very high

PLEASE REMAIN AWARE OF YOUR LOCAL ALERT LEVEL AND WHAT IT MEANS IN PRACTICE.

Covid-19 affects the BAME community (that includes Sikhs) with more ferocity and about twice the death rate. So, we are at a higher risk than average and need to be extra careful.

Introduction

This guidance should be read with previous guidance issued by the Sikh Council UK, which can be found on our website. General hygiene and safety advice remains the same as in previous guidance. Government guidance has been re-issued with updates on 15th October 2020.[1]

As usual, Sikh Council UK has developed this updated guidance to provide clarity and relevance for Gurdwara Management Committees.

 Guiding principles

  1. We remain in the midst of a serious, worsening pandemic which is likely to continue until atleast spring 2021. Please take this into account in your planning.
  2. Every Gurdwara should have an adequate risk assessment and system in place to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
  3. We recommend a COVID-19 Lead or Team to be appointed by each Gurdwara Management Committee that ensures compliance to rules is met.
  4. Please consider any local restrictions that are in place, as these are in addition to national guidance.

 

  1. Day-to-Day Running of Gurdwaras

In addition to basic preventative measures that are applicable to ALL settings (and listed in our earlier guidance) please take special care of the following:

  • For Gurdwaras with multiple halls and multiple programmes, please be aware of the impact of one programme on another.
  • Try to minimise cross interference and cross gatherings within the gurdwara.
  • Note pinch points in your daily programme and key locations inside the Gurdwara (such as langar hall, foyer, stairs and jora ghar etc).
  1. Anand Karaj

The updated official Government Guidance now applies to “weddings that do not take place in accordance with such law, whether religious, belief based, blessings, or other or other forms of non-statutory ceremony”[2] . This was not previously the case, this means:

This means, by law, no more than 15 people can attend an Anand Karaj, even in Gurdwaras with larger spaces. This includes the couple.

Anyone working is not included as part of the limit on those attending, this would include Kirtanis, Granthis, other Gurdwara Staff, Management and photographers.

If Gurdwara management committee have any concerns with these numbers, we suggest they contact their local authority.

We would also encourage that families booking Anand Karaj are instructed to exclude invitations to guests from local lockdown areas.  If you are from a ‘High’ (tier 2) or ‘Very High’ (tier 3) local COVID Alert level additional restrictions will apply to many activities including travel restrictions.

  1. Funerals

Please refer to previous SCUK funeral guidance. There are no changes in numbers. Funerals must have no more than 30 people attending. Anyone working is not included as part of the 30-person limit.

  1. Numbers attending Gurdwara and sitting in Diwan

Gurdwaras can be attended by more than 30 people. Gurdwaras are exempt from the limit of 6, however people must not mingle or gather in a group of more than 6 within the Gurdwara (other than with those they live with or have formed a support bubble with).

  1. Kirtan

Government guidance states that:  ‘Small groups of singers, including choirs, can perform in front of worshippers. Singing should be limited to a small set group of people’

Therefore, there is no restriction in doing Kirtan in the Gurdwara.  Examples of good practice:

  • Kirtani Jatha to observe social distancing on stage if possible,
  • Set up rope barriers separating Sangat from Kirtani Jatha
  • Sangat sitting 4 metres from the stage
  • Box for donations put at 4m distance from the stage
  • The stage is the “bubble area” for in-house granthis/kirtanis.
  1. Langar

There is no evidence so far that COVID-19 spreads via food. But food can get contaminated by droplets or contact transmission from infected individuals. There is generally no restriction on serving langar. However a risk assessment must be carried out for the whole langar process (from preparing langar to serving and washing).

We recommend as per the government guidance for cafes, langar is provided as direct service to those seated, to avoid queuing and touching of utensils, and if possible use disposable utensils. Please see our previous guidance for examples of good practice that Gurdwaras already have in place.

  1. Meeting other people in places of worship

From Monday 14 September, when meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors.

Whilst engaging in an activity in the Gurdwara or surrounding grounds, all parties should adhere to social distancing guidelines at all times, even within a group of 6. This means people should be more than 1 metre apart as well as taking all possible steps to stay safe to reduce the risk of transmission.

Summary

Each individual Gurdwara is strongly advised to apply this guidance with reference to its own specific circumstances, including its size and type of activities, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated and if necessary, in consultation, with local authorities.

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships

Sikh Council UK stands in solidarity with the protestors and family of Manisha Valmiki, a 19 years old that comes from a so-called ‘Dalit (low caste) background. Manisha was gang-raped and violently attacked in Uttar Pradesh: her tongue was cut, her neck and back broken.

Allegedly, the local police force carried out the heinous act of abducting her body from the hospital and secretly cremating her corpse during the early hours of the morning without the consent or knowledge of her or family. A media blackout followed this.

This is resonant of the violent crimes conducted by Panjab Police from the mid-80s to late 90s against Sikhs, in which thousands of youth, both men and women were subjected to ‘enforced disappearances’.

Repeated instances of brutal and horrific sexual crimes in India have often grabbed global headlines over past several years:

Thomson Reuters Foundation has concluded: “India is the most dangerous country in the world to be a woman, that a rape takes place every three minutes“.

India Today magazine, in December 2019 wrote: “there was sexual violence pandemic in India, and that rape cases had doubled in last 17 years“.

In 2013, the case of Jyoti Singh nicknamed “Nirbhaya” was gang-raped and brutalised in a bus in India’s capital, New Delhi. It took her mother seven years of campaigning in media to get justice for her deceased daughter. Another 23-year-old girl, a rape victim, was set ablaze on her way to court to attend a hearing.

Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. Official Government Data collated in India lists 32,033 rape cases being registered in 2019 alone. This is an average of 88 per day.  One case is reported every 15 minutes. Rapes of underage girls remained high, with 94% committed by perpetrators known to the victim.

In 2017, Indian Courts disposed 18,300 cases of rape, leaving over 127,800 cases pending at the end of that year. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there is a 30% conviction rate in rape cases in India. It appears that the state has joined hands with the perpetrators, to deny justice to the victims.

Women in India are not safe in homes, on the streets, at work or religious places in India. In many cases, the blame is transferred to the victim due to the cultural attitude against women in India.

We call for zero tolerance to rape and violence against women and urge the Indian Government to revisit the teaching of the Sikh Gurus who propagated respect for women in Gurbani and high moral conduct in our Rehat Maryada. Historically, Sikh leadership has created and safeguarded the respect for women.

Balvinder Kaur Saund, Executive Member of SCUK and Chair of Sikh Women’s Alliance said:

Justice has to be seen to be done, to give confidence to victims of rape to report the crimes. Punishment should fit the crime, and no one should be allowed to buy their way out of court case, just because they have more money and power to do so.

-END –

Surjit Singh Dusanjh

Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Manmagun Singh Randhawa

Assistant Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Media enquiries: 07496505907 / info@sikhcouncil.co.uk

 

ਸਿੱਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ, ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿਚ ਉੱਤਰ ਪ੍ਰਦੇਸ਼ ਦੇ ਹਾਥਰਸ ਇਲਾਕੇ ‘ਚ ਪਿਛਲੇ ਦਿਨੀਂ ਬੇਹੱਦ ਘਿਨਾਉਣੇ ਤਰੀਕੇ ਨਾਲ ਜਬਰ-ਜਨਾਹ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰੀਆਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਜ਼ੁਬਾਨ ਕੱਟ ਦੇਣ, ਗਰਦਨ ਅਤੇ ਕਮਰ ‘ਤੇ ਡੂੰਘੀਆਂ ਸੱਟਾਂ ਮਾਰਨ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਦਮ ਤੋੜ ਗਈ, ਇਕ 19 ਸਾਲਾ ਕੁੜੀ ਮਨੀਸ਼ਾ ਵਾਲਮੀਕੀ ਦੇ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ ਨਾਲ ਡੂੰਘੀ ਹਮਦਰਦੀ ਜ਼ਾਹਰ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੈ। ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ ਦੋਸ਼ੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਮਿਸਾਲੀ ਸਜ਼ਾਵਾਂ ਦਿਵਾਉਣ ਲਈ ਸੰਘਰਸ਼ ਕਰ ਰਹੇ ਸਮੂਹ ਲੋਕਾ ਦਾ ਡੱਟ ਕੇ ਸਮਰਥਨ।

ਮਨੀਸ਼ਾ ਦੀ ਮੌਤ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਸਥਾਨਕ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਵਲੋਂ ਕਥਿਤ ਤੌਰ ‘ਤੇ ਮਨੀਸ਼ਾ ਦੀ ਮਿ੍ਰਤਕ ਦੇਹ ਨੂੰ ਅਗਵਾ ਕਰ ਲਿਆ ਗਿਆ ਅਤੇ ਮਿ੍ਰਤਕਾ ਦੇ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ ਨੂੰ ਦੱਸੇ ਬਗ਼ੈਰ ਚੁੱਪ-ਚੁਪੀਤੇ ਅੱਧੀ ਰਾਤ ਨੂੰ ਉਸ ਦਾ ਸਸਕਾਰ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਗਿਆ।ਮੀਡੀਆ ਤੇ ਵੀ ਲੋਕਲ ਪਲੀਸ ਨੇ ਪਾਬੰਦੀ ਲਾਈ।

ਇਸ ਘਟਨਾ ਨੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਵਲੋਂ 1984 ਤੋ ਲਗਾਤਾਰ ਕਈ ਦਹਾਕਿਆ’ਚ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਅੰਦਰ ਹਜ਼ਾਰਾਂ ਸਿੱਖ ਨੌਜਵਾਨਾਂ, ਬਜ਼ੁਰਗਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਔਰਤਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਝੂਠੇ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਮੁਕਾਬਲਿਆਂ ‘ਚ ਮਾਰ-ਮੁਕਾਉਣ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਅਣਪਛਾਤੀਆਂ ਲਾਸ਼ਾਂ ਕਹਿ ਕੇ ਸਸਕਾਰ ਕਰਨ ਦੇ ਅਣਮਨੁੱਖੀ ਅਤੇ ਸ਼ਰਮਨਾਕ ਵਰਤਾਰੇ ਦੀ ਦਿਲਕੰਬਾਊ ਯਾਦ ਤਾਜ਼ਾ ਕਰਵਾ ਦਿੱਤੀ ਹੈ।

ਪਿਛਲੇ ਕਈ ਸਾਲਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਲਗਾਤਾਰ ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿਚ ਔਰਤਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਵਾਪਰ ਰਹੀਆਂ ਦਿਲਕੰਬਾਊ ਅਤੇ ਭਿਆਨਕ ਜਿਨਸੀ ਅਪਰਾਧ ਦੀਆਂ ਘਟਨਾਵਾਂ ਅਕਸਰ ਕੌਮਾਂਤਰੀ ਮੀਡੀਆ ਦੀਆਂ ਸੁਰਖ਼ੀਆਂ ਵਿਚ ਆਉਂਦੀਆਂ ਰਹਿੰਦੀਆਂ ਹਨ:

ਥੌਮਸਨ ਰਾਈਟਰਜ਼ ਫਾਊਂਡੇਸ਼ਨ’ ਦੀ ਇਕ ਰਿਪੋਰਟ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ, ‘ਔਰਤਾਂ ਲਈ ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿਸ਼ਵ ਦਾ ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਖ਼ਤਰਨਾਕ ਦੇਸ਼ ਹੈ। ਇੱਥੇ ਹਰ 3 ਮਿੰਟ ਬਾਅਦ ਇਕ ਔਰਤ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰ ਦਾ ਸ਼ਿਕਾਰ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ।’

ਇੰਡੀਆ ਟੂਡੇ ਮੈਗਜ਼ੀਨ ਨੇ ਵੀ ਦਸੰਬਰ 2019 ਵਿਚ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਸੀ ਕਿ ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿਚ ਜਿਨਸੀ ਹਿੰਸਾ ਇਕ ਮਹਾਂਮਾਰੀ ਵਾਂਗ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਇੱਥੇ ਪਿਛਲੇ 17 ਸਾਲਾਂ ਦੌਰਾਨ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰ ਦੇ ਮਾਮਲਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਦੋਗੁਣੀ ਹੋ ਗਈ ਹੈ।

16 ਦਸੰਬਰ 2012 ਨੂੰ ਭਾਰਤ ਦੀ ਰਾਜਧਾਨੀ ਨਵੀਂ ਦਿੱਲੀ ਵਿਚ ਇਕ ਚੱਲਦੀ ਬੱਸ ਵਿਚ 23 ਸਾਲਾ ਪੈਰਾ-ਮੈਡੀਕਲ ਦੀ ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥਣ ‘ਨਿਰਭੈ’ ਨਾਲ ਛੇ ਜਣਿਆਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਸਮੂਹਿਕ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰ ਕਰਨ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਅਣਮਨੁੱਖੀ ਅਤੇ ਗ਼ੈਰ-ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਤਰੀਕਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ ਉਸ ਦੇ ਜਣਨ ਅੰਗਾਂ ਅੰਦਰ ਲੋਹੇ ਦੀਆਂ ਰਾਡਾਂ ਮਾਰ ਕੇ ਉਸ ਦੀਆਂ ਅੰਤੜੀਆਂ ਬਾਹਰ ਕੱਢ ਦਿੱਤੀਆਂ ਗਈਆਂ ਅਤੇ ਅਧਮੋਈ ਕਰਕੇ ਉਸ ਨੂੰ ਚੱਲਦੀ ਬੱਸ ਵਿਚੋਂ ਬਾਹਰ ਸੁੱਟ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਸੀ। ‘ਨਿਰਭੈ’ ਦੀ 13 ਦਿਨ ਲਗਾਤਾਰ ਜ਼ਿੰਦਗੀ-ਮੌਤ ਵਿਚਾਲੇ ਸੰਘਰਸ਼ ਕਰਨ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਸਿੰਗਾਪੁਰ ਦੇ ਹਸਪਤਾਲ ਵਿਚ ਮੌਤ ਹੋ ਗਈ ਸੀ।

ਇਸ ਦੌਰਾਨ ‘ਨਿਰਭੈ’ ਦੇ ਇਕ ਦੋਸਤ ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੂੰ ਵੀ ਹਵਸੀ ਦਰਿੰਦਿਆਂ ਨੇ ਬੜੀ ਬੇਰਹਿਮੀ ਨਾਲ ਕੁੱਟਿਆ ਅਤੇ ਲੁੱਟਿਆ ਸੀ। ‘ਨਿਰਭੈ’ ਦੀ ਬੁੱਢੀ ਮਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਆਪਣੀ ਧੀ ਦਾ ਇਨਸਾਫ਼ ਲੈਣ ਲਈ 7 ਸਾਲ ਤੱਕ ਲਗਾਤਾਰ ਮੀਡੀਆ ਦੀ ਸਹਾਇਤਾ ਨਾਲ ਸੰਘਰਸ਼ ਕਰਨਾ ਪਿਆ। ਇਸੇ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰ ਦੀ ਸ਼ਿਕਾਰ ਇਕ ਹੋਰ 23 ਸਾਲਾ ਕੁੜੀ ਜਦੋਂ ਸੁਣਵਾਈ ਸਮੇਂ ਅਦਾਲਤ ਵਿਚ ਪਹੁੰਚੀ ਤਾਂ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰੀਆਂ ਨੇ ਉਸ ਦੇ ਘਰ ਨੂੰ ਅੱਗ ਲਗਾ ਦਿੱਤੀ ਸੀ।

ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰ ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿਚ ਔਰਤਾਂ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਹੋਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਚੌਥਾ ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਵੱਡਾ ਜੁਰਮ ਹੈ। ਅਧਿਕਾਰਤ ਸਰਕਾਰੀ ਅੰਕੜਿਆਂ ਮੁਤਾਬਕ ਭਾਰਤ ‘ਚ ਸਿਰਫ਼ ਸਾਲ 2019 ਵਿਚ ਹੀ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰ ਦੇ 32,033 ਮਾਮਲੇ ਸਾਹਮਣੇ ਆਏ ਹਨ। ਇਕ ਦਿਨ ‘ਚ ਔਸਤਨ 88 ਜਬਰ-ਜਨਾਹ ਦੇ ਮਾਮਲੇ ਬਣਦੇ ਹਨ। ਹਰ 15 ਮਿੰਟ ਬਾਅਦ ਇਕ ਮਾਮਲਾ ਦਰਜ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਹੈ। ਨਾਬਾਲਗ ਕੁੜੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਜਬਰ-ਜਨਾਹ ਦੇ ਮਾਮਲਿਆਂ ਵਿਚੋਂ 94 ਫ਼ੀਸਦੀ ਮਾਮਲਿਆਂ ‘ਚ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰੀ ਪੀੜਤ ਕੁੜੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਪਰਿਵਾਰਾਂ ਦੀ ਜਾਣ-ਪਛਾਣ ਵਿਚੋਂ ਹੀ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹਨ।

ਸਾਲ 2017 ਵਿਚ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਅਦਾਲਤਾਂ ਨੇ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰ ਦੇ 18,300 ਮਾਮਲਿਆਂ ਦਾ ਨਿਪਟਾਰਾ ਕੀਤਾ, ਜਦੋਂਕਿ ਸਾਲ ਦੇ ਅਖੀਰ ਤੱਕ 1,27,800 ਤੋਂ ਵੱਧ ਮਾਮਲੇ ਸੁਣਵਾਈ ਅਧੀਨ ਬਾਕੀ ਰਹਿ ਗਏ ਸਨ। ਨੈਸ਼ਨਲ ਕ੍ਰਾਈਮ ਰਿਕਾਰਡ ਬਿਊਰੋ ਦੇ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਭਾਰਤ ‘ਚ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰ ਦੇ ਮਾਮਲਿਆਂ ‘ਚ ਸਜ਼ਾ ਦੀ ਦਰ 30 ਫ਼ੀਸਦੀ ਹੈ। ਇਸ ਤੋਂ ਇੰਜ ਜਾਪਦਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਭਾਰਤ ਅੰਦਰ ਸਰਕਾਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਹੱਥ ਰਲੇ ਹੋਏ ਹਨ। ਇਸੇ ਕਾਰਨ ਦੋਸ਼ੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਸਜ਼ਾਵਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਪੀੜਤਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਇਨਸਾਫ਼ ਨਹੀਂ ਮਿਲਦਾ।

ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿਚ ਔਰਤਾਂ ਘਰਾਂ ਅੰਦਰ, ਸੜਕਾਂ ‘ਤੇ, ਕੰਮਕਾਜੀ ਥਾਵਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਅਸਥਾਨਾਂ ‘ਤੇ, ਗੱਲ ਕੀ ਕਿਤੇ ਵੀ ਸੁਰੱਖਿਅਤ ਨਹੀਂ ਹਨ। ਭਾਰਤ ਅੰਦਰ ਔਰਤਾਂ ਪ੍ਰਤੀ ਸੰਕੁਚਿਤ ਸਮਾਜਿਕ ਰੀਤੀ-ਰਿਵਾਜ਼ਾਂ ਕਾਰਨ, ਬਹੁਤ ਸਾਰੇ ਮਾਮਲਿਆਂ ‘ਚ ਉਲਟਾ ਬਲਾਤਕਾਰ ਪੀੜਤ ਔਰਤਾਂ ਸਿਰ ਹੀ ਦੋਸ਼ ਮੜ੍ਹ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ।

ਔਰਤਾਂ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਹਿੰਸਾ ਅਤੇ ਜਬਰ-ਜਨਾਹ ਵਰਗੇ ਜੁਰਮਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਬਿਲਕੁਲ ਬਰਦਾਸ਼ਤ ਨਹੀਂ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾ ਸਕਦਾ ਅਤੇ ਭਾਰਤ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਨੂੰ ਅਪੀਲ ਕਰਦੇ ਹਾਂ ਕਿ ਉਹ ਸਿੱਖ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨ ਦੀਆਂ ਅਨਮੋਲ ਨੈਤਿਕ ਸਿੱਖਿਆਵਾਂ ‘ਤੇ ਗ਼ੌਰ ਕਰੇ, ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਅੰਦਰ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਨੂੰ ਔਰਤ ਦਾ ਸਤਿਕਾਰ ਕਰਨ ਅਤੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਰਹਿਤ ਮਰਯਾਦਾ ਅੰਦਰ ਮਨੁੱਖ ਨੂੰ ਉੱਚੇ ਇਖ਼ਲਾਕ ਦਾ ਧਾਰਨੀ ਬਣਨ ਦੀ ਪ੍ਰੇਰਨਾ ਦਿੱਤੀ ਗਈ ਹੈ। ਸਿੱਖ ਇਤਿਹਾਸ ਵਿਚ ਵੀ ਉੱਚੇ-ਸੁੱਚੇ ਕਿਰਦਾਰ ਦੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਆਗੂਆਂ ਨੇ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨ ਦੇ ਸਿਰਜੇ ਮੌਲਿਕ ਫ਼ਲਸਫ਼ੇ ‘ਤੇ ਪਹਿਰਾ ਦੇ ਕੇ ਔਰਤਾਂ ਦੇ ਸਤਿਕਾਰ ਦੀਆਂ ਸ਼ਾਨਾਮੱਤੀਆਂ ਰਵਾਇਤਾਂ ਕਾਇਮ ਕੀਤੀਆਂ ਹਨ।

ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੁ ਦੀ ਕਾਰਜਕਾਰਨੀ ਮੈਂਬਰ ਅਤੇ ‘ਵਿਮਨ ਅਲਾਇੰਸ’ ਦੀ ਚੇਅਰਪਰਸਨ, ਬੀਬੀ ਬਲਵਿੰਦਰ ਕੌਰ ਸੌਂਦ ਨੇ ਕਿਹਾ: “ਜਬਰ-ਜਨਾਹ ਪੀੜਤਾਂ ਦਾ ਹੌਸਲਾ ਅਤੇ ਵਿਸ਼ਵਾਸ ਬਹਾਲ ਰੱਖਣ ਲਈ, ਇਨਸਾਫ਼ ਮਿਲਣ ਤੱਕ ਨਿਆਂਪ੍ਰਣਾਲੀ ਦੀ ਕਾਰਜਸ਼ੈਲੀ ‘ਤੇ ਲਗਾਤਾਰ ਨਜ਼ਰਸਾਨੀ ਰੱਖਣੀ ਪਵੇਗੀ। ਜੁਰਮ ਦੀ ਗੰਭੀਰਤਾ ਮੁਤਾਬਕ ਹੀ ਸਜ਼ਾ ਤੈਅ ਹੋਣੀ ਚਾਹੀਦੀ ਹੈ। ਪੈਸੇ ਅਤੇ ਸੱਤਾ ਦੀ ਤਾਕਤ ਨਾਲ ਕਿਸੇ ਇਕ ਵੀ ਦੋਸ਼ੀ ਦੇ, ਅਦਾਲਤ ਵਿਚੋਂ ਬਚ ਕੇ ਨਿਕਲ ਜਾਣ ਦਾ ਕੋਈ ਵੀ ਰਾਹ ਖੁੱਲ੍ਹਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਬਚਣਾ ਚਾਹੀਦਾ।”

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Surjit Singh Dusanjh

Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Manmagun Singh Randhawa

Assistant Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Media enquiries: 07496505907 / info@sikhcouncil.co.uk

Charandeep Singh, Executive Committee member of SCUK, is hoping to become the Scottish  National Party (SNP) candidate for Eastwood in the upcoming elections for the Scottish Parliament (May 2021).

In 2016, Charandeep Singh was one of eleven candidates in the Scottish Parliamentary Election but marginally missed out on being selected in Glasgow. Since then, he has developed in the Scottish political arena and is hopeful of further success in 2021.

The first documented Sikh in Scotland was Maharajah Duleep Singh (last King of the Sikh Empire), who moved to Scotland in 1854, taking up residence at the Grandtully estate in Perthshire.

According to the Scottish Sikh Association, the first Sikhs settled in Glasgow in the early 1920s with the first Gurdwara established in South Portland Street.

General Secretary Gurpreet Singh Anand of the SCUK said:

“Sikhs have made Scotland their home for over 100 years, making contributions in all areas including Social, Economic and now in Politics. It’s about time the Sikh community has representation in the Scottish political arena and be able to contribute its ethical values to the political systems of Scotland. We, at the Sikh Council wholeheartedly support Charandeep Singh with his campaign and urge the Eastwood community to support him.”

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Surjit Singh Dusanjh

Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Manmagun Singh Randhawa Assistant Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK 

Media enquiries: 07496505907 / info@sikhcouncil.co.uk

Read full statement here

Guidance on COVID-19, has recently been updated, in relation to numbers of people that can gather. The updated guidance has created some confusion for Gurdwara Management Committees. We have developed this updated guidance from SCUK, in order to clarify some of the confusion. It is based on the Governments Updated (26th September) Guidance, which can be accessed on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil- partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships

Introduction

This guidance should be read with previous guidance issued by the Sikh Council UK, which can be found on our website. General hygiene and safety advice has been covered in previous guidance. Please consider if local restrictions are in place when reading and implementing this guidance.

Numbers attending Gurdwara and sitting in Diwan

Communal worship or prayer can be attended by more than 30 people. Places of worship are exempt from the limit of 6, however people must not mingle or gather in a group of more than 6 within the Gurdwara (other than with those they live with or have formed a support bubble with).

Limits for communal worship should be decided on the basis of the capacity of the place of worship following an assessment of risk. For example:

‘’This should take into account and include; how many people can sit in darbar sahib with social distancing taking into account the total floorspace as well as likely pinch points and busy areas (such as entrances, exits) and where possible alternative or one-way routes introduced’’

Kirtan

Government guidance states that:

 Small groups of singers, including choirs, can perform in front of worshippers. Singing should be limited to a small set group of people’

Therefore there is no restriction in doing Kirtan in the Gurdwara. Examples of good practice:

  • Kirtani Jatha to observe social distancing on stage if possible,
  • Set up rope barriers separating Sangat from Kirtani Jatha

Langar

There is no restriction on serving langar. However a risk assessment must be carried out when preparing Langar.

We recommend as per the government guidance for cafes, langar is provided as direct service to those seated in pangat, to avoid queuing and touching of utensils, and if possible use disposable utensils. Please see our previous guidance for examples of good practice that Gurdwaras already have in place.

Anand Karaj

The restriction on numbers stated in the Government Guidance only applies to the legal wedding ceremony and not the Anand Karaj conducted in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee. Government Guidance states:

“Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies (or formations that do not take place in accordance with such law, whether religious, belief based, blessings, or other forms of non-statutory ceremony are not covered …”

The Anand Karaj is an essential rite in the Sikh Rehat Maryada whereas the civil ceremony (conducted by an official registrar) is the legal wedding ceremony as per UK law. Therefore, the COVID-19 rules that apply for weddings are not applicable to the Anand Karaj. Please also refer to our previous guidance on Anand Karaj.

However, it must be stressed that as per the section above about numbers attending the Gurdwara, it is the responsibility of the Gurdwara Management Committee to ensure that it carries out a risk assessment in relation to safety of its Sangat during the current pandemic of COVID-19.

Gurdwaras should advise families booking Anand Karaj to minimise guests and avoid invitations to those guests that live in local lockdown areas. Guests should observe social distancing rules, limit interaction and remain within their household groups.

DODon’t
·      Carry out a risk assessment, to ensure safety of Sangat

 

·      Follow the mitigations that places of worship have put in place, for example using booking systems, changes to entrances and exits or staggered arrivals.

 

·      Make sure you provide your contact details to the place of worship to support the NHS Test and Trace service designed to track and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

·      Make sure only you touch your belongings, for example shoes if removed.

 

·      Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, particularly before leaving the home and returning. If there are no hand washing facilities available use hand sanitiser.

·      Break social distancing (2 metres between households, or 1 metre with mitigations, if 2 metres is not possible), and especially avoid touching people outside of your household.

 

·      Interact socially outside of your household, or the group (of 2 households, no more than 6 people) that you went to the place of worship with

 

 

·      Visit the Gurdwara if you are showing symptoms pf COVID-19

Read Full Guidance here: SCUK Updated Guidance 02.10.2020

Farmers in the Sikh state of Punjab, and across India, are united in protesting against the agricultural legal ordinances instituted by the Lok Sabah and passed in the Rajya Sabha via a very questionable “voice vote” (which many of its members disputed and asked for a division vote which was not considered by the Chair).

Punjab Assembly with its foresights has already rejected this bill on state level.

The legislation that came into force on 24th September 2020 has been widely condemned by labourers, farmers, and over 30 farmers unions across Punjab and all over India. Opposition parties have called the laws discriminatory, placing the interests of capitalists and corporations above those of everyday farmers and labourers. Protests in Punjab, at hundreds of sites all over the state, have severely disrupted highways and railway lines emanating from New Delhi into Punjab and Haryana, blocking all transport since September 24th.

This new legislation is controversial for a number of reasons, it abolishes long standing agricultural subsidies known as the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and enabling corporations to dictate crop prices, disrupting the fragile balance of power between farmers and the market.

Farmers are also concerned that dictated crop prices will influence crop rotations and planting practices undermining ecological balance and further draining groundwater levels, a long standing contentious issue between Punjab and the Indian government. What has been unique about these protests is that farmers and labourers have rejected overtures from opposition parties for not acting in their interest.

This is unprecedented, yet even his radical step has not endeared the political elite to the Punjabi people. The protests have been led and organised at a grassroots level by the farmers themselves, becoming a watershed moment in the strenuous relationship between Sikhs and the Indian State. Sikhs all across the diaspora have been united in their opposition to these new laws.

The Sikh Council UK stands in solidarity with all farmers resisting these clear exploitative laws, which are detrimental to the livelihoods of all farmers and labourers. We urge the Indian government to immediately repeal these laws and respect its own constitutional requirements and process which has not been adhered to in the passing of these laws. We request Sikhs all across the world and other communities as well as human rights organisations to support the resistance of farmers and labourers in whatever way possible.

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Surjit Singh Dusanjh, Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Manmagun Singh Randhawa, Assistant Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Media enquiries: 07496505907 / info@sikhcouncil.co.uk

Read Full Statement Here

With the grace of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the 6th Administration of Sikh Council UK (2020-22) has been formed following due process on 26 September 2020.  Following a month-long successful membership drive, over 100 delegates of the General Assembly approved the new Executive Committee.

This new team consists of talented individuals who bring a wide range of skills with Gurdwara and professional experience https://sikhcouncil.co.uk/ourteam/. Since it’s inception ten years ago, SCUK has seen the largest number of female representatives in the Executive Committee. This is a testimony to Guru Nanak Dev Jee’s universal message of oneness and equality.

The following were selected as the five office bearers:

Following the historic model of the Panth, Secretary-General Gurpreet Singh Anand shared the vision of the collective leadership of the five office bearers (Panj Pardhani):

“The Sikh Council UK is an inclusive platform for Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations, contributing in delivering the collective vision of a united Sikh diaspora. Focused on positive outcomes for the advancement of Sikhi, based on Gurmat values.”

We are all looking forward to working with our existing and new members to address Sikh matters at all levels. Our priority is to support Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations during these unprecedented times.

We invite you to join up and become active members, be part of the collective Sikh voice in the United Kingdom. Membership for joining Sikh Council UK is still open, so please go on online to http://www.sikhcouncil.co.uk/membership and sign up. We look forward to welcoming you all on board.

See Full Press Release: GA Press Release -29:09:20

-END –

Surjit Singh Dusanjh

Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

 Manmagun Singh Randhawa

Assistant Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Media enquiries: 07496505907 / info@sikhcouncil.co.uk

ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ ਦੇ ਟਰੇਡਮਾਰਕ ਤੇ ਕੁਝ ਵਿਅਕਤੀਆ ਵਲੋਂ ਕਾਬਜ਼ ਹੋਣ ਦੇ ਯਤਨ ਅਸਫਲ ਹੋਏ ਹਨ।

ਰਣਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਸੀਹਰਾ ਦੇ ਵਕੀਲਾ ਵਲੋਂ ਦਾਅਵਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਉਹ ਆਪਣੀ ਅਰਜ਼ੀ ਵਾਪਿਸ ਲੈ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ ਅਤੇ ਅਗਾਹ ਤੋਂ ਵੀ ਇਸ ਤਰਾ ਦੀ ਕਾਰਵਾਈ ਨਹੀ ਕਰਨਗੇ।

ਜ਼ਿਕਰਯੋਗ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਇਹ ਅਰਜ਼ੀ ਗੁਪਤ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ ਮੌਜੂਦਾ ਮੈਂਬਰਾ ਦੀ ਜਾਣਕਾਰੀ ਤੋ ਬਿਨਾ ੨੦ ਜੂਨ ੨੦੨੦ ਨੂੰ ਰਣਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਵਲੋਂ ਬਲਦੇਵ ਸਿੰਘ ਬੈਂਸ ਦੇ ਸਹਿਯੋਗ ਨਾਲ ਭੇਜੀ ਗਈ।ਭਾਈ ਜੋਗਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੇ ੨੨ ਸਤੰਬਰ ਨੂੰ ਪੁਸ਼ਟੀ ਕੀਤੀ ਕਿ ਏਸ ਕਨੂੰਨੀ ਕਾਰਵਾਈ ਦਾ ਫੈਸਲਾ ਕੁਝ ਬੋਰਡ ਆਫ ਜਥੇਦਾਰਾ ਵਲੋ ਲਿਆ ਗਿਆ। ਇਸ ਦੀ ਜਾਣਕਾਰੀ ਬਾਕੀ ਬੋਰਡ ਨੂੰ ਵੀ ਨਹੀ ਸੀ ਨਾ ਦੇਣੀ ਜਰੂਰੀ ਸਮਝਿਆ ਗਿਆ।

ਭਾਈ ਜੋਗਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਸਮੇਤ ਏਸ ਕਾਰਵਾਈ ਵਿੱਚ ਸ਼ਾਮਿਲ ਜਥੇਦਾਰਾ ਨੂੰ ਜਨਰਲ ਇਜਲਾਸ ਵਲੋਂ ਸੇਵਾ ਮੁਕਤ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ।

ਸਾਡੇ ਲਈ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਦਾ ਵਿਸ਼ਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਸਿਖ ਸੰਗਤਾ ਦੀ ਮਾਯਾ, ਜੋ ਕਿ ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਨੂੰ ਲਗਾਤਾਰ ੧੦ ਸਾਲਾ ਤੋ ਮੈਂਬਰ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨਾ ਵਲੋ ਭੇਟ ਕੀਤੀ ਗਈ ਹੈ, ਉਸ ਦੀ ਦੁਰਵਰਤੋ, ਬੇਲੋੜੀਆ ਕਨੂੰਨੀ ਕਾਰਵਾਈਆ ਤੇ ਨਾ ਖਰਚੀ ਜਾਵੇ।

ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਦੀ ਪਿਛਲੀ ਅਤੇ ਮੌਜੂਦਾ ਐਗਜ਼ੈਕਿਊਟਿਵ ਕਮੇਟੀ ਨੇ ਬਿਨਾ ਕਿਸੇ ਖਰਚ ਤਂੋ ਸਿਰਫ ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਦੀ ਸੰਪਤੀ ਦੀ ਸੁਰਿਖਆ ਲਈ ਕਨੂੰਨੀ ਕਦਮ ਚੁਕੇ ਜੋ ਗੁਰੂ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਨਾਲ ਹਾਲੇ ਤੱਕ ਸਫਲ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ।

Sikh Council UK succeeds in safeguarding trademark (Eng/Punjabi)

In the last few months, Sikh Council UK has emerged from a transformative period and has established a new, sixth administration to lead, support and deliver on Sikh issues. However, we are concerned that the sangat’s financial donations are potentially being used to cover expensive irresponsible legal costs.

As you may be aware, recently, the opponents of the positive changes have repeatedly attempted to sabotage, seize and tarnish the goodwill and assets of the organisation. Sikh Council UK is funded by paid delegates of the General Assembly who have contributed generously through membership fees and donations.

The previous administration, in which Jatinder Singh served as Secretary-General became aware of a personal trademark application filed by Ranjit Singh Seehra assisted by Baldev Singh Bains on 20th June 2020 claiming ownership of the SCUK (https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tmcase/page/Results/1/UK00003502894) logo.

It was confirmed by Bhai Joga Singh on the 22nd September 2020 that this action was sanctioned by a splinter group of Board of Jathedars without the knowledge of the entire board, against the principles and the constitution of the SCUK. These Board of Jathedars, including Bhai Joga Singh, have since been dismissed by the General Assembly for their actions and for bringing the institution into disrepute.

We can confirm that as of yesterday, as a result of strong legal action by our team, solicitors representing Ranjit Singh Seehra pledged he will be “withdrawing the trademark application forthwith, and will not make any similar trademark application in future”. We are thankful to Ranjit Singh Seehra for the maturity he has exercised in withdrawing his wrongly sought trademark application.

SCUK will always act in the best interest of the Sikh Community and has not had to use any Sangat funds in protecting the assets of the Council.

 

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Surjit Singh Dusanjh

Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Manmagun Singh Randhawa

Assistant Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

Media enquiries: 07496505907 / info@sikhcouncil.co.uk

Representatives of Sikh Council UK and Cranford Community College met today in relation to an issue that arose about the wearing of a Kirpan at the College. The meeting was positive and constructive and clarity was established over misunderstandings between the College and two Sikh students affected by the matter.

Contrary to some reports the students were never excluded and attended the College today wearing their Sikh articles of faith including the Kirpan. Sikh Council UK and the College will continue to work together in further reviewing and developing the existing policy of the College going forward to ensure better clarity and avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

All parties acknowledged the excellent track record of the College in promoting community harmony which has been recognised locally and nationally on numerous occasions. Both Sikh Council UK and Cranford Community College are committed to working in partnership going forward on these matters.

Sikh Council UK Head of Operations Balvinder Kaur said “We are pleased to have resolved the matter and clarify any misunderstandings that had arisen and we look forward to working with the College going forward. The importance of casework around Sikh articles of faith means we all have a responsibility to have due consideration to the facts and be mindful of what is reported on social media”.