In India the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the highest Sikh religious body, has written to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, protesting the use of Guru Nanak Dev’s pictures on tobacco pouches of a company based in the state.
Chitrakoot-based Kumar Enterprises had printed the Guru’s pictures on tobacco pouches and named them as Giani Paan Samagri. SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said:
“In Sikhism, most learned people are called Giani. How can a tobacco pouch carry a word like Giani?” asked Makkar. He said if a Sikh uses tobacco, he or she ceases to be a part of the community.
The use of tobacco is prohibited according to the Sikh rehat maryada (code of conduct). “We demand speedy trial, severe and exemplary punishment to those involved in hurting the religious sentiments of Sikhs,” he said. Makkar said it was a shameful and unethical act of hurting the Sikh sentiments.