In the past few weeks certain social media accounts have been targeting Sikh parchaarik, Bhai Harinder Singh of Nirvair Khalsa Jatha, with repeated posts claiming to “expose” him and ensure that he is not allowed to do parchaar in any Gurdwara stage.
Social media accounts and blogs, run under the guise of anonymity, have made many posts without proof or evidence. Anyone can claim anything about anyone from behind a computer under an anonymous ID. The social media account claimed that “a key Sikh organisation” has given information that a further three independent victims of NKJ have come forward…” How is this verifiable? If this is true, then is it not a Police matter rather than being judge, jury and executor on social media? This can easily become a platform to make unfounded claims and lies about someone, just for the fact that you do not agree with their religious perspective or views. However, is not agreeing with someone’s religious view, denomination or interpretation of Gurbani, however objectionable, an excuse to make unfounded claims without proof and evidence and just post them on social media?
Anyone can claim anything about anyone from behind a computer under an anonymous ID. The social media account claimed that “a key Sikh organisation” has given information that a further three independent victims of NKJ have come forward…” How is this verifiable? If this is true, then is it not a Police matter rather than being judge, jury and executor on social media? This can easily become a platform to make unfounded claims and lies about someone, just for the fact that you do not agree with their religious perspective or views. However, is not agreeing with someone’s religious view, denomination or interpretation of Gurbani, however objectionable, an excuse to make unfounded claims without proof and evidence and just post them on social media?
The one video that is being repeated on social media in regards to accusations of misconduct of Bhai Harinder Singh with an individual is repeatedly posted and reposted. In the past Nirvair Khalsa Jatha has given their response to this video of a phone call conversation.
Where you would expect Sikh organizations and Gurdwaras to dismiss fake social media accounts that are virtual mobbing individuals and making claims about them with the intent to incite hatred, instead a small handful of Gurdwaras in the West Midlands added fuel to the fire.
On 17th November, representatives of five of Gurdwaras from the West Midlands made a video statement from Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji Gurdwara Tividale. The statement read, “…Nirvair Khalsa Jatha has been stopped at Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara Leicester. Similarly, keeping in mind their anti-Gurmat preaching, all the management committees of these Gurdwaras have decided that all Gurdwaras that have booked Nirvair Khalsa Jatha should be cancelled…”
After this video was posted, with the use of anonymous social media accounts that have been targeting Nirvair Khalsa Jatha, a group of aggressive youngsters with black Africo-caribean youngsters that were allegedly hired by the opposition group, came to physically disrupt and stop Nirvair Khalsa Jatha’s Parchaar at Gurdwara Guru Tegh Bahadar Leicester. The President of the Gurdwara later clarified that the Nirvair Khalsa Jatha is not banned, and that the group themselves decided not to continue to prevent disruption and disharmony in the Sangat. However, the President added, they were welcome to come back.
Nirvair Khalsa Jatha is a sister organisation to Bhai Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale’s group. Although some things are questionable in Parchaar, is it an excuse to begin a hate campaign on social media and come to nearly physical violence and threats in Gurdwaras? There are many Parchaariks that many Sikhs disagree with. Many people would disagree with certain Damdami Taksaal Parchaariks and their claims are viewed anti-Gurmat by them. Others see Missionary Parchaariks as anti-Gurmat. However, who will ban who?
Amnesty International state “The right to freedom of religion, conscience and belief is enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and 1 Political Rights (ICCPR). Both the ICCPR and the UDHR also protect the right to be free 2 from discrimination, including on the basis of religion (Articles 2 and 7 respectively). There is a specific relationship between the freedom of religion or belief and other human rights, and constraints on protection of freedom of religion or belief can have a significant impact on the enjoyment of other universal human rights.” Therefore it is absurd that members associated to Damdami Taksaal UK made a video statement from Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji Gurdwara Tividale stating this ban which in the eyes of the law is unlawful based on their reasoning.
Interestingly, these anonymous social media and web pages claims to expose sexually immoral preachers, however, the anonymous Internet trolls are silent to public video testimonies of alleged victims from the UK that accuse prominent parchaariks of their own Jathebandis of sexual misconduct. These preachers continue to preach without any opposition, aggressive protests and virtual mobbing, unlike what has been seen with the NKJ and others in the past few weeks and months. This questions the real motives behind the virtual hate campaigns to defame and ban parchaariks associated to only certain groups, jathedbandis or schools of thought using anonymous social media accounts and websites.
Editor’s Note: Lately, we have seen a growing rise in attacks on Sikh parchariks. This is largely due to the difference in opinion over Sikh traditions, Gurbani interpretations and Rahat Maryada. Parchariks like Bhai Amrik Singh Chandigarh, Bhai Panthpreet Singh, and Bhai Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale are prominent amongst those who have been targetted physically.
A prominent youth activist Bhai Joga Singh was killed in an attack that arose due to infighting between the Panth. In May 2016, another attack on Dhadrianwale’s convey left one of his close aides dead. His attackers are still at large.
ਹੋਇ ਇਕਤ੍ਰ ਮਿਲਹੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਦੂਰਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਇ ॥
Come and join together, O my Siblings of Destiny; dispel your sense of duality and let yourselves be lovingly absorbed in the Lord.
ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੈ ਕੇ ਹੋਵਹੁ ਜੋੜੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੈਸਹੁ ਸਫਾ ਵਿਛਾਇ ॥੧॥
Let yourselves be joined to the Name of the Lord; become Gurmukh, spread out your mat, and sit down. ||1||
As per Gurbani, we should shun differences and come together, but over the past few years, we have seen a growing trend in protests even at Gurdwaras. In order to stop parchariks with opposing views, some members of the sangat resort to protests rather than resolving issues with peace. Many people are not even willing to sit down and listen to views expressed by such parchariks and feel total boycott and protests are the only solutions. Meanwhile, it is also true that many dubious parchariks are also reluctant in resolving issues through discourse.
Sikh24’s stance is that all cases of parchariks who are causing doubts within Sangat should be reported to Sri Akal Takht Sahib, and where local criminal laws apply, complaints should be filed with the police.
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