GSC applauds Akal Takht call for laws to fight unlawful conversion

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(GSC letter to Akal Takht acting jathedar Harpreet Singh. The letter to the media, dated 2 Sept 2022, has been confirmed by the sender)

Singh Sahib S Harpreet Singh ji Jathedar Akal Takhat Sahib Amritsar

Subject: Conversion of Sikhs and Hindus by Inducement, Allurement, and Undue Influence in Punjab

The Global Sikh Council (GSC) welcomes the statement by the Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh Ji that Akal Takhat will support calls to pass Anti-Conversion Laws in Punjab to combat conversion by force, allurements, coercion and other unethical means. Jathedar Ji had further said that this unethical and unlawful activity was being carried out by missionaries who were funded by foreign forces.

The Global Sikh Council had written 3 letters separately to the SGPC dated 29th October, 2021, 27th November 2021 and 20 December 2021 on this issue. The GSC in these letters had pointed out that these conversions were unethical and fraudulent in nature and that a Freedom of Religion Act was necessary to be enacted for Punjab to combat legally the menace of this fraudulent conversion done through deception or through spurious “faith-healing” sessions where claims was made by people like ‘Prophet Bajinder Singh’ that he could cure people suffering serious ailments through prayer to Jesus. Sikhs have been lured to such conversion sessions by the misuse of Sikh historical, cultural and religious terrms and names including: satsang, langar, gurdwara, Satnam, Waheguru, Satguru, etc.

3. The LAW is clear. The Supreme Court of India has ruled in the case of Rev. Stainislaus V. State of Madhya Pardesh & Ors (1977) AIR 908, that no one has any fundamental right to convert others to their religion by using force, coercion, allurements and other fraudulent methods. The Supreme Court further said Laws passed to criminalise such unethical conversions were valid.

Some reports have appeared that showed that some Nihangs created a disturbance at a programme which was said to be as a gathering of Christians. The GSC does not condone any violence or breaking of the law. But the facts are hazy. A video clip shows preparation for a gathering in a tent in a farm village. It was not in a church. There are reports that pamphlets about Christian faith were distributed in the village a few days earlier inviting Sikhs to listen to the praises of Jesus as Lord of the world.

A video clip has appeared (Lok Awaz TV) where a Sikh is shown as saying that the Christians were gathered in a Church and having their own prayers. This is not correct. There was no Church. Only the chairs were shown. But the issue here is not of voluntary conversion but conversions by fraudulent means. Clearly this Sikh purported leader does not understand the issue and cannot differentiate between voluntary conversion and conversions through fraudulent means.

The Global Sikh Council has sent a letter to the Honourable Chief Minister of Punjab Bhagwant Singh Mann in early August 2022. Together with this letter a memorandum was attached calling for Enactment of Freedom of Religion Act for Punjab prohibiting Unethical conversions. A total of 9 exhibits were attached as proof of these proselytising activities being carried out in Punjab.

In view of the above, we applaud the call by the Akal Takht for a law to be enacted to fight unlawful conversion. It is the need of the hour. Sikhism does not support unethical conversions. Thus, they need for protection by Law. The GSC hopes that the Honourable Chief Minister of Punjab will introduce such Law in the Punjab state Assembly urgently.

Kind Regards

Lady Singh, Kanwaljit Kaur, President, GSC

Jagir Singh, Chairman Legal Affairs, GSC

RELATED STORY:

A letter to SGPC: Unethical conversion of Sikhs in Punjab (Asia Samachar, 24 Dec 2012)

Christianity’s onward march in Punjab; need for a strategic response (Asia Samachar, 26 Nov 2021)



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