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SGPC says attempt to malign Sikhs as video of staffer arguing with visitor over Tricolour goes viral

Chandigarh: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SPGC) Monday ordered a probe into a viral video that showed one of its staffers allegedly denying a young woman entry into the Golden Temple because she had the national flag painted on her cheek. 

Reacting to the video and the flood of criticism that followed, the SGPC, in a statement, said the visitor was stopped and asked to follow the “maryada (code of conduct)”. The issue, it added, was being blown out of proportion to “tarnish the image of the Sikhs and defame the management over the incident”.

The video reportedly shows the young woman, accompanied by a man, trying to enter the Golden Temple with the Tricolour painted on her face, and SPGC staffer Sarabdeep Singh stopping her. When her companion questions Sarabdeep regarding the restriction, he says that she has to wipe the flag off her face. When he asks if this was not India, the staffer is heard saying, “No, it is Punjab”. 

Asking the woman to film everything, the man again asks Sarabdeep if this was not India, after which the latter seeks to remind them that they were in a gurdwara. As the man continues to ask if Punjab was in Pakistan or India, the video ends with the woman saying that this was the Golden Temple and telling the staffer that he was speaking “bakwaas” (rubbish). The latter is then seen getting agitated and trying to take the mobile out of her hands. 

SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami strongly condemned the “narrative being created against the Sikhs” on social media following the video. 

“The conversation of a female devotee with a sewadar (attendant), who was stopped at Sachkhand Sri Harmandar Sahib and asked to follow the maryada, is being misrepresented and falsely propagated,” he said. 

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‘Fabricated and baseless comments on social media’

Dhami said it was “not right to make fabricated and baseless comments on social media to tarnish the image of Sikhs and defame the management over an incident”. The Sachkhand Sri Harmandar Sahib, he added, is a universal place for people of all religions and the pilgrims who reach here are respected.

“But it is sad that anti-Sikh forces are leaving no stone unturned to tarnish the image of Sikh institutions. Spreading false propaganda on any incident is an act of breaking the brotherhood, which should be avoided,” he said.

“In this recent incident, a girl was asked by the sewadar to follow the maryada. Although the SGPC has also started an investigation into this matter, still some people are deliberately pushing it in the wrong direction.”

BJP leader Raman Malik, in a tweet, alleged that the girl was even hit by the staffer.

Meanwhile, Sarabdeep, in a video message released Monday evening, claimed that the young woman was trying to enter the gurdwara wearing a skirtm which was not allowed. “She was asked to cover her legs because only a person who is fully clothed can enter the Golden Temple premises. However, the issue has been given a different colour altogether which is unfortunate.” 

Dhami said that every Gurdwara Sahib, including Sachkhand Sri Harmandar Sahib, has a set maryada, which is mandatory for the sangat to follow.

“Sometimes people deliberately act against the maryada, due to which the watchman and sewadars keep alerting the pilgrims,” he explained.

The SGPC president appealed to the sangat to take care of “maryada” while visiting Sikh shrines so that such incidents can be avoided.

Earlier, talking to a media channel, SGPC general secretary Gurcharan Singh Grewal said that in case any visitor felt offended by the behaviour of their staff, then he apologised on their behalf. 

(Edited by Geethalakshmi Ramanathan)

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Source: The Print

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