The apex Sikh gurdwara body, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Wednesday took up the issue of 1984 episode (Operation Bluestar and anti-Sikh riots) and Kartarpur corridor with United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during his visit to Golden Temple here on Wednesday.
He is on a three-day trip to India. In a memorandum handed over by SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal, the UN secretary general was requested to address major issues concerning the Sikh community worldwide. Longowal said United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) should take steps to “safeguard the religious and cultural rights of the Sikhs as per UN conventions and instruments”.
The SGPC also handed over a memorandum to Guterres, highlighting the anti-Sikh riots in 1984, saying “the genocide was planned at the behest of the government in different cities of India mainly in Delhi, Kanpur killing thousands of Sikhs”.
Apart from this, the SGPC chief secretary Roop Singh briefed him on the destruction of Sikh Reference Library during the Operation Bluestar. SGPC member Kiranjot Kaur, who was also accompanying Guterres, briefed him on the principals and history of the highest Sikh temporal seat.
The SGPC sought UN help in getting “visa-free corridor” to the Indian pilgrims to Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. The Sikh body also raised the issue of identity crisis the Sikhs were going through and the persecution thereof, especially after the 9/11 attack on World Trade Centre in New York. Guterres assured Longowal to go through the demands and take steps accordingly.
Earlier, Guterres was received by Union minister of state Hardeep Singh Puri and Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal at Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport. He was received by SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal and general secretary Gurbachan Singh Karmuwala at the Golden Temple.
He spent 45 minutes at the complex. Besides partaking of a langar at the community kitchen, he paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum and received ‘karah parshad’. He also paid obeisance at Akal Takht, where he was presented a ‘siropa’ .
‘Never saw such a shrine’
After visiting the Golden Temple, Antonio Guterres said he did not find any other temple in the world where people of all religions come to pay obeisance.
“I express my deep respect to the Sikh religion and wonderful Golden Temple. Spirit of peace and tolerance prevails here,” he said.
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