Air India Milestone Has Canada’s Sikhs Praying for Answers

June 7, 2010

Author: Robert Matas

Source: The Globe and Mail

Perpinder Singh, a fourth-generation Canadian Sikh, is a lawyer of about 30 years old who wears a turban and a pinstriped suit, white shirt and tie. He discovered the religion that his parents abandoned when he was a teenager, searching for who he was. He was drawn deeper into its rituals as a university student as he sought meaning in prayers and philosophy, and learned about the history of Sikhism. 

Mr. Singh says he was confused when he found out about the Indian army’s raid of the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine in the Sikh religion, in the first week of June, 1984. The Indian government and human-rights groups had conflicting accounts of the events. The government talked of flushing out armed separatists who were part of a campaign of murderous rampages; human-rights advocates spoke of government forces killing thousands of innocent pilgrims who were at the temple to commemorate the death of the religion’s fifth guru. 

Mr. Singh, an organizer of a candlelight vigil on Saturday evening to mark the raid on the Golden Temple, said he was taken aback initially by the allegations of government brutality.