'1984 Sikh Genocide Memorial' removed in US after India's request

deccan chronicle

World, Europe

The memorial featured a prominent photo of Khalistani leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

Fortson said that the library received stark criticim after the memorial was installed in February. (Photo: Twitter )

Norwich: About three months after the installation of  '1984 Sikh Genocide Memorial to the Sikh victims' of the 1984 riots in India at Otis Library in Connecticut, the memorial was removed in the part following a request from the Indian government.

The memorial featured a prominent photo of Khalistani leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale accused the Indian government of genocide, news agency IANS reported.

Nicholson Fortson, president of Library Board of Trustees said that Otis Library and the Norwich Monuments Committee jointly agreed on the removal of the plaque, flags and portrait, the Norwich Bulletin reported.

'It was removed about two weeks ago,' Fortson said.

Swaranjit Singh Khalsa, the city's Sigh community leader, and a local business owner had donated the memorial and lobbied to have it put it up.

Upset at the committee's decision, he claimed, "It's not Indian-held territory, the Sikh community is very upset."

The city's Plaques and Monuments Committee, whose members are Alderwoman Stacy Gould, Alderman Joe DeLucia and Council President Pro Tem Bill Nash, agreed to the library's request to remove the memorial, Gould said.

Fortson said that the library received stark criticim after the memorial was installed in February.

Fortson further said that the library is not a non-political organisation and does not endorse products or partisan political causes.

"We want to make sure our vistiors are in a safe atmosphere,'' he said.

The memorial was placed on a wall of the library's main lobby.

An unveiling ceremony was held in June with a large number of Sikhs present as well as several city offcials and community leaders.

On September 16, the library received the Norwich Rotary Community Diversity Award. It was given partly because of the Sikh memorial, the award presentation said.

 

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