Panthic

U.S. Sikhs condemn $50,000 bounty to slay five DC-area Sikhs

Punjabi organization behind call for assassination
By Anju Kaur | May 19, 2016
Members of the International Sikh Federation hold inaugural press conference, Feb. 2016. The organization is an off-chute of the All India Sikh Student Federation - Mehta. Using “Sikh” as part of an organization’s title does not necessarily mean that it is a Sikh organization.

Members of the International Sikh Federation hold inaugural press conference, Feb. 2016. The organization is an off-chute of the All India Sikh Student Federation - Mehta. Using “Sikh” as part of an organization’s title does not necessarily mean that it is a Sikh organization.

Reporting from Washington – What began as a local incident of violation of the Sikh Rehit Maryada has turned into a sensational international attempt to incite violence.

A Punjab-based organization, often accused of using immoral tactics, announced last Sunday that it will pay $50,000 for the “soadhaan,” meaning “slaying” of the five Washington-metro area Sikhs responsible for organizing and performing a modified Amrit Sanchaar last month.
 
The organization’s name is International Sikh Federation. It is an off-chute of the All India Sikh Student Federation - Mehta. Using “Sikh” as part of an organization’s title does not necessarily mean that it is a Sikh organization.
 
“They cannot be called Sikh,” said Sawinder Singh, member of the Washington-metro area coordination committee of 16 gurdwaras and Sikh organizations. “We don’t appreciate it. They should keep their nose out of this.” 
 
“This is totally wrong,” said Gurdev Singh Kang, president of Gurdwara Sikh Cultural Society, in Richmond Hill, New York. “Those kinds of people don’t know what they are talking about.”
 
“This is not Sikhi,” said Amarjit Singh, activist and founder of the New York-based TV84. “In Sikhi, punishment is not a reward, it is an act of love.”
 
The federation made the announcement in a letter sent to the Akal Takhat on May 15. The stunning bounty was also announced in a news report broadcast by Toronto’s Channel Punjabi on Monday morning.
 
The television station did not respond to SFP’s requests for comment.
 
According to yespunjab.com, the letter reads: "Singh Sahib ji, asin benti karedae haan ki inhaan Guru Ghar de dokhian, Amritsanchar di Maryada todan waaley dokhian nu puratan Khaalsai rehaitaan anusaar sazaa ditti jaani chahidi hai. International Sikh Federation walon inhaan dushtaan nu sodhaan waleyaan nu 50,000 dollar da inaam ditta jaavaega." 
 
In English, it means: "These renegades of the Guru Ghar should be punished as per olden Khalsa traditions. The International Sikh Federation will give a reward of $50,000 to anyone who metes out such justice (read assassinates) to such evil men.”
 
“This is not the Khalsa tradition(s),” Sawinder Singh said. “Guru sahib did not teach this way, to kill someone. The Khalsa fights in the battlefield, and even then it does not harm anyone who is unarmed or cannot defend themselves.”
 
“Khaalsai rehaitaan anusaar sazaa,” punishment, is a dharmic punishment,” said Amarjit Singh. “ This (reward) is a clear message to incite violence.”
 
“We totally condemn this,” said Bhai Sajjan Singh, president of Gurdwara Sant Sagar, in Bellerose, New York. “This is not Gurmat, it is manmat. Guru sahib’s philosophy is against this. Forget it.”
 
The federation’s letter is signed by Paramjit Singh Khalsa, president; Major Singh Khalsa, secretary general; Maninder Pal Singh, and Mandeep Singh Khalsa. Using “Khalsa” as part of a name does not necessarily mean that a person is a Khalsa.
 
“He wants to be a hero, but he doesn’t know the consequence of that kind of statement,” said Gurdev Singh, who knows the federation’s president, Paramjit Singh. 
 
“This person is dubious,” Amarjit Singh also said. It is a conspiracy to malign the Sikh image in the West, he told SFP. Just as in the Air India bombing, persons aligned with Indian-nationalist extremist groups use violence in the name of Sikhi to tarnish the good reputation of Sikhs in the diaspora, he added.
 
“Canadian Minister of National Defense Harjit Singh Sajjan is the image of Sikhs in the diaspora,” said Himat Singh, head of the East Coast Coordination Committee, which includes 55 Sikh gurdwaras and organizations. 
 
“Sikhs in America are happy living here,” he added. “We have freedom speech, freedom of religion. When the shooting in the Wisconsin gurdwara happened, the American government gave ensaaf (justice) by lowering the U.S. flag. The Punjab government gives no ensaaf for baeadbi of Guru Granth Sahib or Sikhs killed, tortured, raped, or drugged. He (Paramjit Singh) should fight for them… (instead of) causing trouble by making statements. 
 
“We condemn him.” 
 
The bounty letter also included the names of the five involved in the tainted Amrit Sanchaar in which three of the five baanees attributed to Guru Gobind Singh were replaced by baanees from Guru Granth Sahib. 
 
“We changed the baanees because they are from Dasam Granth, which is controvertial,” said Bhai Surinder Singh of Sikh Gurdwara, DC, who took part in the tainted Amrit Sanchaar. He apologized to the sangat last Sunday for breaching the Rehit Maryada. 
 
Gyani Kuldip Singh organized the ceremony, which was held at Gurdwara Sikh Sangat of Virginia on April 15. Kuldip Singh did not return phones messages from SFP requesting an interview.
 
“We gurdwaras we will meet and make decision how to handle him, not by cutting his throat,” Himat Singh said.
 
“This act of (falsifying) Amrit Sanchaar, this is sad and painful,” Sawinder Singh said. “We will take care of it by Panthic maryada. 
 
“Inside my heart, I know the Sikh community is hurt by whatever the gyani did, but this is not the way,” Gurdev Singh said. “It’s no good. Our responsibility is to make social and moral pressure to tell Kuldip Singh to apologize. 
 
“The Khalsa is now going to bring him back to the right path.”