Long Island Gurdwara apologises for unruly behaviour by some during ambassadorial visit

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Taranjit Singh Sandhu

Washington: The Long Island Gurdwara management has apologised to Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu for the unruly behaviour by some members of a congregation during his visit there over the weekend.

"We deeply apologize for any inconvenience caused and promise to ensure a smoother experience on your next visit,” the management committee of Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar of Long Island Hicksville in New York said in a letter to the Ambassador on November 29.

Accompanied by India's Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, Sandhu visited the Gurdwara in Long Island on Sunday, November 26. "Regrettably, an incident occurred during your visit, and we, the management of the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar of Long Island Hicksville, the congregation and Respectable Giani Gubux Singh Gulshan ji strongly condemn such occurrences," the letter said.

"We assure you that we will exercise extra caution during your next visit, taking measures to prevent any similar incidents," said the management committee adding that the Gurdwara Sahib wholeheartedly values and acknowledges the intimacy and harmony his visit brought among them.

"The congregation was elated to witness your presence and found immense value in your brief yet impactful speech. We were delighted to learn about your family background history during respectable Giani Gurbux Singh Gulshan ji's speech. We truly appreciate all the efforts the Indian Government has been doing for the Afghan Sikhs and Hindus around the world since uncountable years," the letter said.

Lauding the visit, Balbeer Singh Pahwa, the president of the Guru Nanak Darbar, said, “The Ambassador's visit was very positive. There were only four protesters and the gurdwara leaders asked them to leave as soon as they created disturbances." "But I can tell you that everyone else in the community praised Sandhu’s message of togetherness. There were several other gurdwara heads present and they too were against the protests. We hope that this engagement of the Indian government with the Sikh community continues as they listen to our problems and help resolve it," Pahwa said.

When asked about the incident in New York over the weekend, a State Department spokesperson told PTI , "Consistent with our obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Department is committed to taking all appropriate steps to protect diplomatic missions and their personnel."