UK Sikh Organizations Release Statements on Vienna Incident
May 29, 2009
Source: Sikh Federation & Federation of Sikh Organizations, UK
London, UK - Federation of Sikh Organisations, UK and the Sikh Federation released statements in regards to the recent events at the Ravidas Temple in Vienna. They are as follows:
SIKH FEDERATION (UK) :
London, UK - We are deeply saddened and shocked over the recent incident that took place in Vienna, Austria and the subsequent rioting in Punjab. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sikh families and friends of those affected by this incident. Any loss of life is regrettable whether in Vienna or Punjab.
All concerned need to ensure that incidents, like the one in Vienna and the violent reaction against Sikhs in Punjab that followed are not allowed to occur again. This will only happen if we take a hard look at the facts that have still to emerge about why the situation arose in Vienna in the first place and what was done by the authorities in Punjab to maintain calm and prevent attacks against Sikhs.
The incident in Vienna and reaction in Punjab have brought back many memories. Firstly the memory of 13 April 1978 when thirteen innocent Sikhs were killed for peacefully demonstrating against a fake Nirankari baba for showing disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Secondly, the memory of the events from 25 years ago; when innocent Sikhs were deliberately targeted and killed.
Many hearing about the incident in Vienna or unsubstantiated rumours have immediately jumped on the popular bandwagon to condemn the attack that took place on Sunday without establishing the full facts. This includes the possibility that three local Amritdhari Sikhs, simply wearing their Kirpans, may have been shot dead by Indian security agents providing armed protection to the two so-called self-proclaimed gurus visiting Austria. A fourth local Sikh is believed to be in a serious condition in hospital with bullet wounds to the head.
Rumours abound as to why the incident took place in Vienna, including local tensions that existed. For example, there is talk of an incident a week earlier when a local Sikh man was supposedly attacked by thugs at the same location in Vienna for peacefully complaining about disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The local Sikh man is believed to have been left with life threatening injuries and subsequently died in hospital of the wounds inflicted.
The media has largely been silent on the killing of Sikhs in Vienna by Indian security agents with the use of illegal firearms. Ironically the only statement in the media on the killing of three Sikhs has come from the Indian police itself. The media has also failed to report on whether a serious incident took place a week earlier that may have relegated the incident in Vienna to a local dispute that got totally out of hand by the over reaction of Indian security agents.
There are however a number of hard truths that many of those making statements to the media have avoided to mention. It is well-known that the two so-called self-proclaimed gurus visiting Austria described by one Austrian politician as ‘problem gurus’ that should not have been allowed to enter the country to preach hate, were partaking in activities disrespectful of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. One possibility is these ‘problem gurus’ sealed their own fate through their offensive actions and continued disrespect towards the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The likes of the SGPC and those that promote and protect these ‘problem gurus’ must shoulder the blame for what has happen due to their inaction.
There has been extensive misreporting about the Sikh faith by the media following the incident in Vienna. The repeated mistake made by the media is the failure to recognise Sikhs do not have a living human Guru. Instead the Sikhs eternal Guru is the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which includes the teachings of Bhagat Ravi Dass and this has been the case for over 300 years.
The tenth and last human Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was unequivocal when he stated: “Sab Sikhan ko hokam hai Guru Manyo Granth” meaning “All Sikhs are commanded to take the Granth as Guru”. Sikhs throughout the world last year celebrated the 300th anniversary of the ending of the concept of the human Guru and the gurudom passing to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Nonetheless these ‘problem gurus’ have been encouraged to continue to stir up matters and have been provided armed Indian government protection while in India and abroad.
The media also continue to provoke the situation by portraying the Vienna incident as an issue linked to caste. However, by definition a Sikh is one who believes in one God, the teachings of the ten Sikh Gurus and their utterances contained in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji; and believes it is necessary to take Amrit by Khanda-ki-Pahul bequeathed by the tenth Guru. Those that understand the Sikh faith know those who take Amrit and become part of the Khalsa are deemed to be equal and the Sikh Gurus finished the caste system, which continues to be linked to the Hindu faith and way of life.
National Press Secretary
FEDERATION OF SIKH ORGANIZATIONS - UK:
Summary of statement
- The FSO has expressed regret over the incident in Vienna which happened on Sunday 24th May and appealed to all Punjabi's for calm and restraint.
- The FSO appreciates the fact that Dera Sach Khand has also appealed to its supporters and followers for calm. They urge the Guru Ravidas Samparda Punjab and the Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha UK to also appeal for calm.
- The FSO acknowledges the fact that the Guru Ravidass Sabha UK has always remained steadfast in Gurmat principles and shown the highest respect and Satkaar to Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj.
- FSO also is aware that Guru Ravidass Sabha UK has prohibited Sant's or Dehdhari's to sit higher than Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj and nor does it allow people to matha thek (bow) to the dehdharis in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj. To make the Sangat aware of this, Guru Ravidass Sabha UK published advertisements and released statements in all major Punjabi newspapers/magazines a few years ago.
- The FSO respects the sharda (devotion) shown by the Guru Ravidass Sabha UK and is proud to support any programmes done by the Sabha for the benefit of the community.
- The FSO hopes that the Federation of Sikh Organisations and the Guru Ravidass Sabha can continue to unite under Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj and carry on with Gurmat principles.
- Any third parties wishing to disrupt the harmony and the unity will not succeed.
Issued by: Amrick Singh Gill, Jathedar Balbir Singh, Master Avtar Singh, Gurmej Singh Gill, Amrick Singh Sahota (OBE), Manmohan Singh Khalsa
Co-ordiantors: Joga Singh and Kuldeep Singh Chaheru