Close to the 24th anniversary of the murder of a temple keeper who died in the line of duty while defending the place of worship, his portrait was installed during a brief ceremony held on Saturday (January 8).
Nirmal Singh Gill was killed in a violent attack by white supremacists at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara on January 4, 1998.
On Saturday, antiracist activists came together for the unveiling of his picture right inside the seniors centre located on the temple premises.
Among those present were anti-hate educator Tony McAleer and the first turbaned Sikh RCMP officer Baltej Singh Dhillon.
Dhillon not only endured racism both within and outside the force, but also investigated Gill’s murder. McAleer is a former white supremacist who tries to steer people away from getting immersed in hate groups.
Imtiaz Popat, cofounder of Coalition Against Bigotry–Pacific, was also in attendance. He has made a documentary on Gill.
All three individuals paid tributes to Gill and emphasized that it was important to keep his story alive to fight back against racism that refuses to die.
They also urged the senior centre to be renamed after Gill, who laid down his life while resisting a racist attack on the temple.
Gurdwara president Hardeep Singh Nijjar did the unveiling amid Sikh religious slogans of victory and also spoke on the occasion.
The ceremony took place on the sidelines of celebrations of the birth anniversary of the tenth master of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh, who denounced bigotry and called for the entire humankind to be treated as one race.
The picture was sent by Gill’s grandson, Paramjit Singh Sandhu, from Toronto. Sandhu couldn’t make it to the event due to death in his family.