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Sikh activists asking for apology for removal of vigil group from Okanagan temple

Click to play video: 'Sikh activists hold protest after temple prohibits vigil' Sikh activists hold protest after temple prohibits vigil
A group of Sikh activists are protesting after being unable to hold a candlelight vigil at a temple in the Okanagan for a prominent Indian actor who died earlier this week. Yasmin Gandham reports – Feb 20, 2022

A video sent to Global News, shows police removing activists in the Sikh community from a temple, in the Okanagan.

Activists say they were attempting to organize a candlelight vigil for Deep Sidhu, an Indian actor who died in a car crash on Tuesday, according to police.

“Deep Sidhu supported our country a lot in the farmers protests, which was bad for all of our country,” said vigil organizer, Atul Verma.

“So, he was a good person for everybody, and suddenly there was an accident that led to his death and so we were there for a candlelight vigil.”

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Verma says he was shocked to be removed from the temple along with approximately a hundred other supporters because he thought it was a place of worship for everyone. However, according to Verma, the group was told that it is private property.

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“It’s a religious place, anyone can come here. You have seen Sikh community, helping everybody, everywhere. You are kicking out your own people. You can own the land, but you can’t own the God there, it’s everybody’s,” said Verma.

The secretary of the temple, Andy Sandhu, said the vigil was not permitted because Sidhu was a political figure, and ‘there is no place for politics in a place of worship.’

“This place is a place for worship, so we don’t belong to any political parties or any group. It is just a place for people to come and pray,” said Sandhu.

“If they have some kind of political agenda, they could have it somewhere else. We have a counsel of India, they can do it there, the temple is not the place for this.”

Meanwhile, Verma is asking for an apology from temple leaders for how the situation was handled.

“Apologize to everybody for his behaviour with us, and for saying it’s their property, and to get out of here, and for calling cops for no reason,” said Verma.

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