In a shocking turn of events, a peaceful protest outside the Dashmesh Culture Centre in northeast Calgary took a violent turn over the weekend, prompting an investigation by local authorities. The protest, which had been ongoing for two weeks, spiraled into chaos on Sunday evening, resulting in two injuries and a large-scale police response.
According to reports by CTV News, between 50 and 100 individuals were engaged in a violent confrontation at 135 Gurdwara Sahib Boulevard, leading to a call to the Calgary Police Service (CPS). The clashes erupted as tensions flared during an ongoing demonstration against the leadership committee of the Gurdwara.
The CPS disclosed that they received two separate calls from the Dashmesh Culture Centre on Sunday evening, each reporting disturbances related to the ongoing protest. The first call, at approximately 1:15 pm, alerted officers to a disturbance involving protesters outside the Gurdwara. Subsequently, a second call reported that the protesters had moved inside the building. Officers were dispatched to de-escalate the situation.
Gurpartap Baidwan, one of the organizers of the protest, spoke with CTV, shedding light on the demonstrators’ grievances. Baidwan explained that the protest aimed to oppose the Gurdwara’s leadership, accusing them of deviating from the Sikh Rehat Maryada, a set of guidelines issued by the Akal Takht, often referred to as the Sikh Vatican.
“They are required to abide by the Sikh Rehat Maryada that is issued by the Akal Takht, which is kind of like our Vatican,” Baidwan emphasized.
Protesters have cited the leaders’ alleged lack of adherence to the Sikh religious rules, inadequate communication, an unwillingness to resolve community conflicts, and a general sense of negligence as the driving forces behind their agitation.
The escalation of the protest into violence raises concerns about the ability to address internal issues within the Sikh community peacefully. Local authorities and community leaders are now faced with the challenge of finding a resolution that respects both the principles of the Sikh faith and the need for effective governance within the Gurdwara.