Amidst a diplomatic dispute between India and Canada, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee’s general assembly convened on Wednesday and passed several resolutions. These resolutions encompassed various concerns, such as the release of Sikh prisoners, the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, and the streamlining of voter registration procedures within the SGPC.
The resolution addressing the India-Canada dispute expressed distress at the unwarranted hate propaganda faced by Sikhs and Punjabis due to the ongoing situation between the two nations. The SGPC urged both governments to earnestly address this unfortunate situation.
Tensions between India and Canada escalated after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations of potential involvement of Indian agents in the assassination of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil in June. India vehemently rejected these allegations as baseless and motivated.
The SGPC resolutions also called for an end to discrimination against the Punjabi language and the safeguarding of Sikh heritage in Pakistan.
The general assembly of the SGPC was convened to elect its president and other office bearers, including the general secretary, senior vice president, and junior vice president.
Regarding the release of Sikh prisoners, one resolution asserted that the continued incarceration of these individuals, despite serving their sentences, constitutes a violation of their human rights. The resolution demanded that the central and concerned state governments (Delhi and Karnataka) cease this discrimination against Sikhs and release the prisoners promptly.
The SGPC has been actively seeking the release of Sikh prisoners, including Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in the case of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s assassination, and Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, a 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict.
In another resolution, a commitment was made to protect the rivers of Punjab and oppose the construction of the SYL canal, with the SGPC pledging to play a prominent role in advocating for Punjab’s water rights.
The resolution addressing the alleged discrimination against the Punjabi language highlighted instances in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh where people of Punjabi origin are allegedly compelled to use Hindi and English when interacting with government offices. The resolution called for an immediate end to this practice.
Yet another resolution appealed to the government of Pakistan to maintain and preserve Sikh heritage and historical Gurdwara Sahibs within its territory. The resolution emphasized that several sites had been neglected since the Partition in 1947 and urged the government and the Evacuee Trust Property Board to prioritize their preservation.