New Delhi, Dec 10, 2004
Sikhs living abroad want representation in the Shiromani Gurdwara
Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) which they say should open branches across
the world's main cities to give immediate attention to issues facing
them on international scene.
To support their demand, they cite problems faced by Sikh pupils in
France over their turbans since the anti-veil ban came in force.
In the post-9/11 US, Sikhs also became mistaken target of racial ire
because of their turbans and beard.
''The SGPC should allow membership to non-resident Sikhs in today's
globalised world so that the community members get immediate solution
to their religious and identity issues which were unheard of some years
ago,'' US Sikh Democrat leader Mohinder Singh Taneja told reporters
Mr Taneja is also Director (Business Development) in Nassau County's
Department of Economic Development and was appointed to the post by
County Executive Thomas Suozzi.
''Issues such as the turban row in France have underlined the need
for giving Sikhs living abroad an official religious platform to present
their case strongly,'' he said.
Pravasi Bharatiya Welfare Association Secretary-General J S Malhotra,
a media consultant in Britain, also echoed Mr Taneja's views.
''I think there is a greater need for Sikhs overseas to have religious
representation in the SGPC, the supreme Sikh body,'' Mr Malhotra said.
He regretted that the Sikh community abroad had got fractured on regional
lines. Even gurdwaras there are tagged to different Punjab regions,
such as Doaba, Malwa and Majha, Mr Malhotra said.
''We need a uniform religious policy conforming to the spirit of the
Sikh faith that rejects all distinctions as mere manifestation of personal