Mission Diwali celebration cancelled in wake of Punjab incidents

Scripture desecrations, death of Sikh activists change tone of usually-exuberant holiday

  • Oct. 30, 2015 1:00 p.m.

Local youth sing and dance at the Diwali event last year in Mission. This year's Diwali event has been cancelled in response to international incidents.

Mission’s main Diwali celebration, on Nov. 3, has been cancelled. The cancellation is in response to a series of troubling incidents in Punjab, India, including a series of alleged desecrations of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy scripture, and the deaths of two Sikh activists in police-involved shootings.

“We condemn the incidents in Punjab, and we are in support of the community,” said Sanjay Gulati, the executive director of Mission Community Services.

The now-cancelled Mission event was to take place at the Clarke Theatre at Heritage Park Centre, with performances, an indoor marketplace, and a free dinner.

A story on the upcoming Diwali celebrations was included in Friday’s Mission Record, which went to press prior to the event’s cancellation.

In response to the Punjab incidents, Sikh Diwali events have been halted worldwide —the usually-exuberant festival of light will be observed this year a “Black Diwali,” a solemn observance without the usual festivities and fireworks. The Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab the centre of the Sikh faith has also cancelled its Diwali celebrations, which usually attract thousands.

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