A letter to SGPC: Unethical conversion of Sikhs in Punjab

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A LETTER FROM GLOBAL SIKH COUNCIL (GSC) TO SHIROMANI GURDWARA PARBANDHAK COMMITTEE (SGPC), DATED 20 DEC 2021

Sardar Harjinder Singh Dhami, President
Teja Singh Samundri Hall, Sri Harmandir Sahib Complex,Sri Amritsar, Punjab, INDIA Pin: 143006
Email: president@sgpcamritsar.org

Subject: UNETHICAL CONVERSION OF SIKHS IN PUNJAB

Firstly, the Global Sikh Council (GSC) wishes to congratulate yourself for being elected as the President of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in the recently concluded SGPC elections. GSC hopes under your leadership the SGPC will become the true institution to enhance and protect the Sikh religion, cultural rights and Sikh interests.

  1. The GSC has written 2 letters on the above matter to the earlier President of SGPC Bibi Jagir Kaur Ji:
    • (a)  First letter was dated 29th October 2021 under heading “Unethical Conversion of Sikhs to Christianity”, highlighting:
      • ➢  The different unethical methods used to convert Sikhs to Christianity.
      • ➢  Different media reports on the matter were highlighted.
      • ➢  Terms such as Satsangs, Langgar, Jesus, Gurdwara, Satnam, Waheguru & Satguru for Jesus were used by Christian Missionaries. Further, there was Religious & Cultural Appropriation of the Sikh Faith and its practises, customs, Gurbani and traditions so as to deceive the convert Sikhs into believing they were merely following Christianity, an off shoot of Sikhism.
      • ➢  Setting up a rival body called “Shiromani Church Parbandhak Committee” mimicking the Historical and Sikh religion based “Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee”.
    • (b)  Second letter was dated 27th November 2021 under heading “Freedom of Religion Act urgently needed in Punjab to combat nefarious ‘Faith-Healing’ and ‘Unethical Religious Conversion’” of Sikhs.
      • ➢  That the numerous “Faith-Healing” sessions are used to dupe the Sikhs into converting to Christianity.
      • ➢  Three of the biggest Faith-Healing groups were named as
        1. (i)  Pastor Gursharan Kaur Deol
        2. (ii)  Apostle Ankur Narula and
        3. (iii)  Prophet Bajinder Singh.
  2. Numerous reports from Punjab suggest that instances of unethical conversions in Punjab have arisen dramatically over the last about 10 years. To control and check such unlawful conversions and nefarious “Faith-Healing” sessions many States in India have enacted laws criminalising such activities called “Freedom of Religion Act (or Ordinance”). The States that have enacted such laws include Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pardesh, Uttar Pardesh, Odisha and Himachal Pardesh. These states after the passing of this laws have seen a tremendous drop in the unethical conversion and Faith-Healing instances leading to a drastic drop in conversions to Christianity.
  1. There is clear evidence that the “Freedom of Religion Act” really helps and is the answer in controlling the conversions through unethical means such as using force, coercion, inducement, allurement, undue influence, fraudulent means or by Marriage Deceit. We quote from “TFIPOST” dated 30th May 2021 under heading “Sikhs in Punjab are turning into Christians at a breath neck pace with foreign visas and salaries as incentives”, by Sanbeer Singh Rawhotra, as follows: “The need of the hour is to immediately counter the narrative being spread by Christian missionaries in Punjab. At the national level, bringing in a stringent mass anti-conversion law is the need of the hour. Within the State of Punjab, Sikh and Hindu organisations must take up the battle of protecting their culture and faith from prying Christian missionaries. The anti- conversion law, meanwhile, is a necessity since these Christian missionaries will soon spread their wings dangerously to all States in the country.”
    -In HINDU POST dated September 20, 2021 is stated:

    “….we have covered how the conversion industry is flourishing in Punjab with proselytizers like “Apostle” Ankur Narula. Gursharan Kaur, rape accused Bajinder Singh etc. using fake miracle cures, deception, illegal foreign funds and the good old-fashioned “rice bag” (including illegally diverted government rations) to lure converts from among the poor underprivileged sections of Sikhs & Hindus”.


  2. The SUPREME COURT INDIA decision in REV. STAINISLAUS VS STATE OF MADHYA PARDESH & ORS (1977) A.I.R. 908 is referred:

    The Fundamental Principles established are:
    • (i)  The provisions of the Madhya Pardesh Freedom of Religion Act” establishes the equality of religious freedom for all citizens by prohibiting conversion by objectionable activities such as conversion by force, fraud and by allurement.”
    • (ii)  That there can be “no such thing as a fundamental right to convert any person to one’s own religion.”
    • (iii)  The provisions prohibiting “conversion from one religion to another by use of force or allurement, or by fraudulent means and matters incidental thereto” are valid.
  1. In view of above, the situation of Unethical Conversions and fake “Faith-Healing” instances are quite wide-spread in Punjab especially in the poor class. Thus, as is mentioned earlier a Freedom of Religion Act is a need of the hour. It is noted that SGPC has announced that it is launching campaign of “Ghar Ghar Andar Dharamsal” to counter unethical conversions. This is a step in the right direction but not enough. It will not be able to overcome the sustained missionary campaign. A law to criminalise such objectionable methods of conversion is urgently needed.

  2. The GSC has prepared a Draft law for Punjab called the Punjab Freedom of Religion Act which is modelled on the Freedom of Religion Act passed by other States. A copy of the Draft law is attached which could be used as a basis for SGPC to push for such law to be enacted in Punjab. For a start the SGPC should consider sending this Draft law for adoption by main political parties in Punjab, Of course the political parties will be free to make any changes as they desire.

  3. The GSC is hopeful that SGPC would take immediate necessary steps in the matter including pushing for the enactment of the Freedom of religion Act for Punjab. The proposed Act does not target any religion. Anyone who uses unethical means and fake Faith-Healing methods will be covered by the Act.

Dr Kanwaljit Kaur- Lady Singh President, UK
Dr Karminder Singh, Chairman Religious Affairs Committee, Malaysia
S Jagir Singh, Barrister, Chairman Legal Affairs Committee, Malaysia
S Ram Singh, Co- Chairman Punjab Affairs, and Media Affairs, India
S Paramjit Singh Bedi, Co- Chairman Punjab Affairs and Afghan Affairs Committee, USA
Dr Jasbir Singh Puri, Chairman Fund raising Committee, Ireland
S Gurdial Singh, Chairman European Affairs, France
S Harsaran Singh, Chairman Organisational Development, India
Sd Surachna Kaur, Chairman, Punajbi language affairs, Hongkong
S Amanjeet Singh, Chairman Community and economic Development, Dubai
S Yashpal Singh, Chairman Heritage Committee, USA
Sd Sngeeta Kaur Rehal Chairman Women’s Empowerment
S Harjeet Singh Chairman Sikh sports Development

Global Sikh Council is a confederation of National Level Sikh Organisations worldwide, working together for the advancement of the Sikh religion guided by the Guru Granth Sahib and the socio-economic development of the Sikh community.

(Attached to the letter was a draft copy for the ‘Punjab Freedom of Religion Act ‘2020)

RELATED STORY:

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

ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond.Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: editor@asiasamachar.com | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here 

1 COMMENT

  1. The Global Sikh Council has done well to prepare – and to send it to the SGPC President – a draft law called Punjab Freedom of Religion Act. Now, the SGPC should push for the enactment of such a law.

    Even though it’s already too late, Sikh political and religious leaders of Punjab should now start working on a war footing to check Christian missionaries’ vigorous efforts to convert the state’s Dalit Sikhs to Christianity .

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