‘Completely Fake News‘ claim Hindus
On Sunday, February 14, a group of Indians in Sydney organized a car rally in support of the Indian national flag ‘Tiranga’ and farm laws to show solidarity with the government of India. The rally has now become a bone of contention after it has been claimed by some members of the Sydney’s Indian communiuty that the rally was stopped and diverted by the police “because it was heading towards Glenwood Gurudwara posing a threat of attack on the Gurudwara”.
“Not true” said Yogesh Khattar, the organiser of the rally speaking to Bharat Times.
“There was no plan to go to the Gurudwara. Never” Mr Khattar added.
But the view in the Sikh community is the exact opposite. An urgent media release was organised by the Australian Sikh Association Ltd which runs the Centre and the Gurudwara putting the whole local Sikh community on alert.
In part, the media release read:
The peace-loving Sikh community in Sydney is concerned about the safety of its members and the holy premises located at the Gurudwara in Glenwood. Yesterday, 14 February 2021, the vigilant actions of the NSW Police foiled an attempt of some miscreants to provoke/disrupt the Sunday services attended by numerous worshippers.
We were informed that police officers, accompanied by the riot squad helped stop a large convoy of vehicles heading towards the Gurudwara and took control of the roads leading to the sacred premises. It is alleged that mobsters were proceeding towards Glenwood after a protest rally in Parramatta with the Indian national flag and shouting religious slogans. The timing of this coincided with the Sunday congregation and is strongly believed to have the intent of disrupting the service and damaging the building.
This incident has also raised concerns about the safety of the members of the Sikh community who can easily be identified through their unique appearance in turbans and facial hair especially the elderly who at times walk and liev-in close proximity to the Gurudwara.
Mr Khattar vehemently denies claims made in this media release.
When asked how he feels about what the media release says, Mr Khattar said “It is a sin for me to even think of anything like that. As I have said, there was no plan to even go to the gurudwara”, he emphatically said.
Issuing their own media release and vehemently and completely denying any suggestion of even going to the gurudwara, the group under the name of Indian Disapora Sydney has labeled the claims of threat to the gurudwara, particularly the statement that our rally was heading towards Glenwood Gurudwara to do “disrupting the service and damaging the building” as someone “spreading rumours“.
“It is totally baseless and offensive allegation“, the group said in their media release, calling for a thorough investigation.
The group claims “somebody is creating a politically motivated narrative” to smear their peaceful rally. They also expressed their anguish over the rally participants, which they say included women and children, being labeled as “mobsters“.
The media release by Australia Sikh Association (ASA) seems to be based on the information in a claim by a member of the Sydney Indian community and reported by a media outlet saying: “At around 3 PM, NSW Police had conveyed to the gurdwara concerns of an imminent attack.”
NSW Police response to Bharat Times debunks the threat claim
Bharat Times contacted the NSW police local in the area to get to the bottom of it. The police version does not support the claim that the rally was diverted because of a threat of an imminent attack on the Glenwood gurudwara. A spokesperson of the local area NSW police said,
“Cumberland Police Area Command allowed the gathering and motor vehicle procession to proceed, provided they comply with current COVID-19 requirements.
The gathering commenced at 2.00pm (Sunday 14 February 2021) and when crowd numbers grew too large at 4.30pm, police met with the organisers and the procession was stopped and redirected back to Jones Park.”
What is worrying for the community is the fact that at the park, some other members of the Indian community labelled by a media group as “Khalistani Mob” had also gathered in opposition to the rally and the police feared trouble between the two.
“Police remained at the park to prevent any possible breaches of the peace between supporters of the religious ceremony and an opposing group who had also gathered at the park. Both groups were spoken to and agreed to break into smaller groups (due to COVID restrictions) and then disperse’, the spokesperson added.
“No arrests were made and no breaches of the peace were detected.”
Organizers of the rally are upset that miscreants manufactured the fake news of the fake threat of attack on Sydney gurudwara and the rally was stigmatized.
The Gurudwara people have not yet responded to requests from Bharat Times for their response.
The Indian diaspora is divided all over the world particularly in connection with the on-going farmers’ protests, it is the responsibility of every Indian Australia, particularly living near Sydney gurudwara to be calm and respectful to ALL places of worship, to their fellow Indian Australians and under NO circumstances allow ANYONE to cause trouble.
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