Sikhs Encouraged to Get Weapons Training
Spread of Christianity in Punjab Seen As Threat
Giani Harpreet Singh, acting head of the Akal Takht (highest authority within Sikhism), has called on Sikhs in Punjab to receive weapons training due to the advance of Christianity within the region.
In a story from 6 June, reported in the Hindustan Times, Singh called on Sikh institutions to “open shooting ranges for youngsters to train in modern weapons.”
He continued, “Today, we are facing a lot of challenges. Christianity is being spread in Punjab on a large scale to weaken us religiously. Churches and mosques are being built in large numbers in the villages of Punjab, which is worrisome for us”.
Singh made his call during an event commemorating the 38th anniversary of the Indian government’s attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar aimed at crushing Sikh militants. The Golden Temple is the holiest site to Sikhs.
He went on, “I appeal to Sikh preachers to launch a drive against this on a large scale and counter this trend of conversion. Let us strengthen Sikhi in villages again. The border belt is affected the most and special attention needs to be paid there. This is the time to shed comforts of life and work tirelessly in this direction.”
The Hindustan Times report quoted the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Amritsar, Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy as responding, “This is not true. People have the right to preach any religion. The statement of the Sikh religious leader has not come at a right time. We are all talking about religious harmony in the country. No conversion is taking place.”
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar administrator, Angelo Rufino Gracias, agreed with Bishop Samantaroy when he said, “We are Catholics. We don’t convert people. It’s a country where people are free to preach. There is no conversion going on. Only dormant Christians have become active and have started practising the faith.”