Sub-Continent Friends of Labor needs friends

By: IST news Desk

Sydney, 21st April, 2016


On 17th April, 2016, Sikh Council of Australia organised Vaisakhi celebration at Austral Gurudwara, which was attended by Indian High Commissioner, Navdeep Suri, Liverpool Council Mayor, Ned Mannoun, Laurie Ferguson MP, Michelle Rowland MP, Geoff Lee MP, Daniel Mukhi MLC, Sophie Cotsis MLC, many Councillors and community leaders. It was a successful event. Mr Bawa Singh Jagdev, Secretary of the Sikh Council of Australia, did a good job, and spoke well. High Commissioner, Navdeep Suri, was the first High Commissioner for a long time who attended an event like this in a Gurudwara. He outlined the role of High Commission of India in Canberra and how it is a new priority for Government of India to interact and network with Indians living overseas. His grand father, Nanak Singh (formerly Hans Raj) wrote many books including Khooni Vaisakhi (Blood-soaked Vaisakhi), describing the massacre of thousands of people in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar on 13th April, 1919.

All political leaders, as usual, spoke highly about Indian comunity and Sikh religion.

At the end of the event, Mr Amarinder Bajwa, Vice President of the Sikh Council, came on the stage to thank the dignitaries. After thanking, he invited members of Sub-Continent Friends of Labor (SCFOL) to give a memento to Mr Bawa Singh Jagdev. By all accounts, it was quite odd that an unrelated entity (SCFOL) came on the stage to “honour” Sikh Council of Australia secretary. It was not the event organised by SCFOL. People were perplexed and confused with the oddity and inappropriateness of what was happening on the stage.

Things became more messy, embarrassing and humiliating for SCFOL when their repeated requests to dignitaries to join them while “honouring” Mr Bawa Singh Jagdev was ignored by all of the dignitaries. None stood up and joined SCFOL leaders on the stage. It was again inappropriate for SCFOL leaders to call dignitaries to join them on the stage.

Things are not going right for current leaders of SCFOL these days. It is a common knowledge that Federal ALP leader, Bill Shorten, ignored the current SCFOL leaders while visiting Reevsby Gurudwara only a few weeks ago. Shorten acknowledged the former SCFOL president Harish Velji, but chose to completely ignore the current SCFOL leaders. Current SCFOL leaders were not even allowed to enter the meeting room where Gurudwara executives had a close door meeting with Bill Shorten.

It is a common knowledge that many Labor MPs do not see eye to eye with the current SCFOL leaders and do not hold them in high regard. MPs think that they can interact with Indian Australians in a much better and effective manner if they deal with the community directly, instead of going through SCFOL.

With the current SCFOL losing its sheen and connections, it is to be seen what happens to their upcoming annual dinner and who from the Labor hierarchy attends it.


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About Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 38 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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