• Friday, August 19, 2022

INDIA

Participation of Sikh delegations from UK and Australia in ‘controversial’ events irks India

12 Sikh soldiers of the British Army visited religious sites in Pakistan under the Defence Sikhs Network

FILE PHOTO: Sikh Scots Guards soldier Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar (2-R), stands on guard duty outside Buckingham Palace in central London on December 13, 2012. (Photo by CARL COURT/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

INDIA is not happy over the participation of Sikh delegations from both the UK and Australia in various events, according to a report.

Last week, 12 Sikh soldiers of the British Army visited religious sites in Pakistan under the Defence Sikhs Network. Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Bajwa invited them and the event was titled ‘Ex Nankana Pilgrim 2022’, the Hindustan Times reported.

The team was led by defence champion for Sikhs in the Armed Forces Major General Celia Harvey. Reportedly, they also met Bajwa.

The DSN is an official UK armed forces organisation which acts as a focal point for serving Sikhs and their community.

In another development, a Sikh contingent from the Australian Defence Forces participated in the Griffith Sikh Games in New South Wales.

According to the report, the event featured Khalistani banners, posters and flags.

It is reported that many Australian Sikhs of Indian origin raised concerns to the organisers about the pro-Khalistan banners.

Later, an Australian defence spokesperson clarified that only ‘a small group’ participated in the event and there was no ‘formal invitation’ to defence.

He added that they were unaware of other groups attending the event, including political or separatist movements.

The Hindustan Times report said that pro-Khalistan organisations used photos of Sikh ADF personnel in the games to suggest they support an ‘independent Sikh homeland’

According to the report, the UK delegation visited Kartarpur Corridor, Allama Iqbal’s mausoleum, Gurudwara Darbar Sahib and Orakzai district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Earlier, a post by DSN on social media on June 6 condemned the “loss of the sanctity of Harmandir Sahib and the Akal Takht” in 1984.

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