Washington: Terming it as a historic day, Sikhs in the US have welcomed the passage of an Act by the Indian Parliament, allowing the community to register their marriages separately.

"Not having a full recognition of their observances and their customs in India had created a sense of lack among Sikhs and it questioned their independent identity as a community. This thoughtful action by the elected leaders of India honours the Sikh tradition and its validity," Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Washington-based Sikh Council, said about the passage of the Anand Marriage Act.

It also sends a signal that India welcomes its own vibrant diversity and honours its own minorities. "Comprehensive law recognition the Sikh marriage is still needed which would require community wide deliberations and we appeal to Sikh leaders to involve various sections of Sikh intelligentsia," he said.

I J Singh, a New York-based Sikh commentator and author of several Sikh books, said the passage of Anand Marriage Act on Tuesday was obviously important for Sikhs in India and Sikhs across the world.

"It is crucial step but it is a pity that it took 60 years. Not that we as a community did not protest or struggle to get this crucial recognition, finally those efforts have brought this good," he said.

Ranjit Singh, chairman of the Maryland-based Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, said it was great to see Sikh parliamentarians working across party lines to achieve this goal.

"That is a victory for Sikhs. Indian Parliament leaders also deserve recognition for their unanimous decision," he said.

Till now marriages of Sikhs along with those of Buddhists and Jains were registered under the Hindu Marriage Act in India, Muslims, Parsis, Christians and Jews have separate Acts for registration of their marriages.


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