SGPC official asks woman Instagram influencer to join police probe

Amritsar, Jun 24 (IANS): Saying the Sikhs do not threaten anyone, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Secretary General Gurcharan Singh Grewal on Monday asked woman Instagram influencer to join police investigation and lodge a complaint against those who are giving her death and rape threats.

The local police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Gujarat-based fashion designer and influencer Archana Makwana for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of Sikhs by performing yoga on the bank of Sarovar at the Golden Temple.

The incident sparked outrage among the Sikh community, terming it a violation of ‘maryada’ of Darbar Sahib.

Responding to a media query that social media influencer Archana Makwana, who is facing charges for performing yoga at Sri Darbar Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple Amritsar, here, who is alleging that she’s facing a threat to life after the incident, Grewal said, “The Sikh religion always respects women.”

He urged Archana Makwana to lodge a complaint against those who are giving her death and rape threats. He emphasised that the Sikhs do not engage in such behaviour and do not threaten anyone. He said her assertions are being done solely to defame the Sikhs.

Meanwhile, Gujarat Police gave protection to Archana Makwana. She expressed gratitude to the police and Gujarat government for their prompt action.

The SGPC, considered the 'Mini Parliament' of the religion, on Saturday filed a police complaint against the Instagram influencer.

The incident resulted in the suspension of two SGPC employees for duty dereliction in the Darbar Sahib ‘Parikrama’ by allowing the woman to do yoga exercises on the morning of June 21. Also, the SGPC had fined another staffer Rs 5,000 and transferred him to another Gurdwara.

A marble walkway is known as the 'Parikrama' where pilgrims can take a circumambulation, offering prayers and paying their respects.

SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami said some people deliberately ignore the sanctity of the holy place. He said Sikh sentiments have been hurt by the act of the woman.

He appealed to the 'sangat' that Sachkhand Sri Harmandir Sahib has great respect in the entire Sikh community and at the same time pilgrims, belonging to every religion and country, come here to pay obeisance with reverence.

Pictures of Instagram influencer, Archana Makwana, while performing yoga went viral.

Amid the uproar, she has issued a public apology, expressing regret.

Golden Temple General Manager Bhagwant Singh Dhangera has said Archana Makwana had posted her photos on her social media account.

"After verifying through the CCTV cameras, it was found that she performed yoga exercises at 7.04 a.m. after entering the premises at 6.57 a.m. She spent almost an hour in the 'Parikrama' but she had not paid a reverence during her stay," he has added.

In a story posted on her Instagram handle, Makwana said: “I was unaware that practising yoga on the Gurdwara Sahib premises could be offensive to some as I was just paying respect and did not mean any harm to anyone. Please accept my sincere apologies.”




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