| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 25 March 2017 | Asia Samachar |
The incident has all the plots for the making of a sausy crime story: vulnerable girl, desperate mother, foreign men, kidnapping and police.
If that was not enough, throw in religion. You have the involvement of a granthi and gurdwara leaders. And the Sikh mother threatens to convert to Islam if they do not extend help, a raw bait designed to apply pressure, a pure play on emotions.
The story begins with a lady from India seeking the help of Giani Daljit Singh, a local preacher and a granthi at Gurdwara Sahib Dharamsala in Kuala Lumpur, to ‘rescue’ her daughter who, allegedly, had run way with a ‘Desi’ boy, according to a narrative captured in a letter by a local Sikh body.
“After hearing her plea, I helped her to lodge a police report. We then tried to locate her daughter,” Daljit tells Asia Samachar when contacted by telephone. That was towards end-November 2016. Daljit, a granthi for more than 35 years, has assisted many cases of workers from Punjab stranded in Malaysia due to various reasons.
In December 2016, the lady approaches Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC), an official body representing the majority of gurdwaras in Malaysia.
The lady, identified as Kulwinder Kaur, told MGC officials that “her daughter had been kidnapped by Desi boys and they were asking ransom money,” the MGC said in a statement released on 21 March 2017.
Desi is Punjabi for countryman. In Malaysia, the term is applied to Punjabi men and women from the Punjab side of India, who mostly descend on Malaysia in search of jobs.
For some weeks, the Malaysian police and MGC officials conducted a couple of search attempts based on information provided by the lady, but to no avail. After a while, the attempts fizzled out when the parties began doubting the lady’s version of the events.
In March 2017, an audio recording supposedly from the same lady goes viral within the Punjabi community in Malaysia. In the video, the lady alleges that MGC had not extended her assistance, and she threatens conversion to Islam.
When contacted by Asia Samachar, Kulwinder confirmed releasing the audio, in which she claimed that the local Malaysian Sikh leaders did not extend assistance to her ‘despite repeated my plight and pleas’.
MGC’s take on the incident, however, differs.
“When she first came to us, we extended help. We were worried the daughter may end up in prostitution,” Jagir tells Asia Samachar.
TO READ THE MGC LETTER, GO HERE.
In the organisation’s three-page statement, signed by Jagir, MGC alleged: “She had lied about the ransom demand. In fact it was she who had demanded payment for giving away her daughter.”
The MGC statement alleged the existence of a video supposedly showing the same lady ‘demanding “7 lakh” before the Desi boy could take her daughter away’. Rp7 lakh (Rp700,000) is about US$10,700 / RM47,000.
“The audio blamed the named individuals as responsible for her predicaments and that she was being forced to embrace Islam,” Jagir added in the letter sent to all member gurdwaras to inform them of the story from the MGC side.
“The audio clip is a total lie and is clearly aimed at maligning the individuals namd and the MGC, despite the fact that the MGC had gone out of way to help this lady,” said Jagir.
In a telephone conversation with Asia Samachar, Kalwinder maintained that MGC and the Sikhs mentioned in her audio did not extend help to her.
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MGC statement on Dr Anurag, SGPC support for Ek Granth Ek Panth (Asia Samachar, 17 March 2017)