SGPC tells Canadian PM to help resolve Sikh identity issues globally

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Amritsar Nov.18 (ANI): The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC), the premeir body of the Sikhs, has sought the help of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to resolve the issue of Sikh identity being faced by the community in various countries.

Harper on Wednesday visited the Golden Temple, the holy place of the Sikhs, while on a three-day visit to India.

Covering his head with white scarf Harper entered in to the Golden Temple amid tight security.

Before entering the Golden Temple, Harper, sources said, applied antiseptic cream upon his feet and hands. It is normal for VVIPs from foreign when they have to remove shoes in the holy temple here. He also checked his appearance twice in the mirror Sikh's Pagri or, the traditional headgear was tied around his head.

Earlier, Punjab Deputy chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Avtar Singh Makkar, President of SGPC, other political and religious leaders, accorded him a warm welcome.

While welcoming Harper on his visit to the Golden Temple, Makkar requested Harper to influence the French government in resolving turban issue as well as the Sikh identity issue emerging in various countries.

It is pertinent to mention that after 9/11 Sikhs became the victim of mistaken identity.

The SGPC honoured the Canadian PM with an honorary robe and a set of religious books.

Sukhbir Badal honoured the Canadian PM with a "Shawl", a sword and a replica of the Golden Temple.

Harper also visited the "Langar Hall" (the community kitchen).

Harper avoided interaction with the local media.

In the visitors' book the Canadian PM wrote, "Thank you very much for the great honour of taking me through this beautiful and sacred place, an experience I will never forget."

Meanwhile, in a letter to Harper, SGPC President Makkar said due to their distinct religious and cultural identity, Sikhs were facing an identity crisis worldwide, as the world community is yet to get fully familiar with the Sikh identity.

He said that such lack of awareness was the basic reason for the French government imposing a turban ban on Sikh students.

Makkar has also urged the Canadian PM to take up Sikh issues, including the matter of the Sikh turban at the UNO and other world forums.

He thanked the Canadian government for granting honourable status to the Punjabi language in Canada and mentioned it was a generous act for which the Sikhs owe a lot to the large heartiness of Canadian people. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

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