Talkshow host Jay Leno's remark on the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine in Amritsar, has been strongly condemned by India.

Leno showed a picture of the Golden Temple on his popular programme The Tonight Show on NBC on Jan. 19 and termed it as a possible summer home for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has been criticized by rival presidential candidates over his reluctance to release his tax records.

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi objected to the remark and said he has directed the Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Nirupama Rao to take up the matter with the U.S. State Department.

“It is quite unfortunate and quite objectionable that such a comment has been made after showing the Golden Temple,” said Ravi. “The Golden Temple is the Sikh community's most sacred place. Even our Prime Minister went there for praying in the New Year. I believe that the person who has shown is not that ignorant. The American government should also look at this kind of thing,” he added. “Freedom does not mean hurting the sentiments of others. This is not acceptable to us and we take a very strong objection for such a display,” he continued.

I wish this kind of thing is not shown by any media in the US, Ravi said, adding that he has not seen the show personally and has heard about it from the Sikh community.

An online petition by members of the U.S. Sikh community stated that Leno was guilty of derogatory comments on Sikhs. The petition has made it clear that Leno's racist comments need to be stopped right here.