Leaders go to India to Settle Sikh Conflict

January 5, 2007

Author: Scott Jason

Source: Merced Sun Star/SALDEF


LIVINGSTON -- Sikh residents opposed to a community center and local temple officials backing the project agreed to send their dispute to the religion's highest authority in India.

Akal Takht, the Sikh governing board at the Golden Temple in Punjab, India, will hear arguments from the opposing groups Wednesday and a decision should be announced a few days later.

"We are all religious people," opposition leader Mohani Thiara said. "We have faith they aren't going to go against the Sikh religion."

Livingston temple board members say the $3.5 million Indo-American Community Center will be non-denominational and available for all kinds of events. Yet it's the openness that has some Sikhs and nearby residents petitioning City Hall to stop the project.

Harjinder Singh, the board's secretary, said a board member is in India to give the temple's position and reasons why the sacred land won't be compromised by having meat, alcohol and dancing next door.