SOME Sikh women along with some Sikh men, angry at what they say are anti-women pronouncements by controversial Sikh preacher Hari Singh Randhawa Wale that go against the Sikh Holy Scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib, turned up at Surrey’s Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran on Wednesday to demand an explanation from the preacher, urging him to stop delivering such sermons.
Some of the women and men told The VOICE that they were informed that the preacher would address their concerns in the main prayer hall but that he first insisted on delivering his sermon. But the peaceful protestors insisted that he deal with this issue as he had reportedly called them inside himself. Some said that a male from the gurdwara threatened some women protestors. Someone called the police who, some allege, entered the gurdwara without taking off their shoes.
The protestors say that you could go to Youtube and listen to what they say are anti-women statements by the preacher. They said that if the gurdwara did not resolve this issue, then they would take it up with the Akal Takhat in Amritsar (Punjab), the highest spiritual authority for Sikhs, because the Sikh Holy Scriptures stress the equality of men and women.
Gurdwara General Secretary Malkit Singh Boparai told The VOICE that the preacher never made any anti-women pronouncements in their gurdwara itself and so the congregation didn’t think it was appropriate for the protestors to confront him there. He claimed that the preacher was willing to answer their questions given in writing by one of the protestors, but at his place and not at the gurdwara. However, the protestors turned up at the gurdwara anyway.
He claimed that there had been a misunderstanding regarding the preacher’s invitation to the protestors to come inside. He said what the preacher meant was the lobby and not the darbar hall. Later the preacher came to the lobby to answer their questions, but there was much confusion and someone from the congregation called the police to intervene, he said.