gurinder singh

Sikh activist in Indiana Gurinder Singh Khalsa has filed papers to declare his candidacy seeking a seat in the Fishers City Council. Khalsa is running as a Republican. (Twitter photo)

Gurinder Singh Khalsa, an Indian American Sikh activist in Fishers, Indiana, recently announced his intention to run for city council in the midwestern town.

Khalsa, a Republican, filed his paperwork to make his candidacy official Feb. 6, according to reports.

Carrying placards that said "Singh for Council," Gurinder Singh, along with his supporters, reached the Hamilton County Circuit Court where Khalsa filed his papers and presented them to Hamilton County Circuit Court Clerk Kathy Kreag Williams, the reports said. His wife Gagandeep Kaur was present, among others.

Khalsa, a native of Haryana, India, in Ambala village, noted, according to various media outlets, "I have been proud to call Fishers my home and look forward to giving back to the community. Please vote for me."

The Rosa Parks Trailblazer awardee, on commenting on his run for the seat, said "an interest in public policy based on my past experiences along with the desire to give back to my community are among the prevailing factors as to my decision to run for office. The community of Fishers has been a wonderful place to live, work, and raise our family.  I want to be a part of giving back through public service,” according to the media outlets covering the filing in Indiana.

Founder and chairman of the Sikhs Political Action Committee, Khalsa is a prominent business leader, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who has worked with public service leaders and organizations across the state and nation.  

Asked why he decided now was the time to run for council, Singh responded to reporters, saying, “I have met many trailblazers who have made a difference in the lives of others through their work in public service. My experience in business operations and the ability to bring a new voice to the table as we strive for forward-thinking visions and goals for the community will be an asset for Fishers.”

Khalsa said he desires to invest in the very community that provided him with the same opportunities which have contributed to his success as a community leader. 

Singh is the president and CEO of SikhsMEDIA as well as a member of several boards and commissions within the city and state.

“My values center on the growth of our community and the voice of our community,” Singh reiterated to reporters. “I value Fishers and look forward to the opportunity to put Fishers first.”

Khalsa will officially receive the Trailblazer award this month. (See India-West story here: https://bit.ly/2DIMs5Z)

Khalsa was named for the award based on his efforts in changing the Transportation Security Administration’s policy regarding turbans, the report noted.

In 2007, Khalsa was forcibly removed from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York after he refused to unwrap his turban, the publication said.

He was traveling from Buffalo to Sacramento, Calif., when TSA officials attempted to send him through extra security measures for wearing a turban even though he didn’t set off any alarms, it said. When Khalsa would not remove his turban in the airport, he said he was taken away by security, it said.

TSA officials informed Khalsa he would encounter the same issue at every airport in the nation, so he took a two-hour taxi ride to Canada, where he immediately contacted a friend with an ethnic media organization. He was interviewed on live TV, and calls from the Sikh community began pouring in, according to a Current report.

A 14-minute film has been made by teenager Jenna Ruiz showing Khalsa’s experience when he was forcibly removed from the Buffalo International Airport for refusing to remove his turban during security screenings. 

Khalsa plays himself in the film. His 14-year-old son, Ajaypratap Singh, plays his younger version. The trailer for the film, which is expected to be released soon, is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zjmxu2HzcU

The Republican primary election for the Fishers City Council is scheduled to be held May 7.

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