Dudley, UK - Over 500 Sikhs from across the country gathered outside the Sikh Cultural Centre in Dudley which is part of the Guru Nanak Singh Sabha (GNSS) Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship). The PEACEFUL rally was against the committee and trustees of the Gurdwara who purposely defied Sikh Maryada (Sikh Code of Conduct) and the 2006 Sri Akal Takht Sahib Sandesh (edict) which prohibits any meat, alcohol, dancing and non-religious music in any property owned by a Gurdwara.
Initially, it had been brought to the attention of the UK Sangat (Sikh community) that a family had booked a meat and alcohol party at the Sikh Cultural Centre for Saturdady 28th May. For several months the Satkaar Campaign and senior leaders of the UK Sikh community from various other Gurdwaras in the West Midlands attempted to discussions and dialogues with the Gurdwara Committee however the Gurdwara Committee were very difficult. Full details of the history of the dialogues can be found on the Satkaar Campaign blog.
Having exhausted all other means of dialogue and talks with the Committee, the UK Sangat planned a peaceful rally to highlight the issue that no meat, alcohol and other anti-Sikh activities are not permissible in any buildings owned by Sikh institutions and that all Gurdwaras have a duty and obligation to follow Sikh teachings and the edicts from Sri Akal Takht Sahib, the supreme seat of authority for the worldwide Sikh community in Amritsar, India.
On 25th May 2011, the family that had booked the party held a meeting with various Sikh Gurdwaras in the West Midlands at Guru Nanak Gurdwara in West Bromwich. The family had been misinformed by the Dudley GNSS Gurdwara that the peaceful rally was against Sikhs having parties in the Dudley area. Realising they had been misinformed and that it was actually unethical to hold such a party in a hall owned by a Sikh religious institution, the family rearranged their party to another venue. With the advice of community representatives the peaceful rally was called off.
Despite the party being cancelled, a deliberate attempt to play with the sentiments of the Sikh community was made by the Dudley GNSS Gurdwara by arranging for another meat and alcohol party at the Sikh Cultural Centre for Saturday 28th May 2011. This was confirmed by West Midlands Police to Sikh community leaders on the evening of Friday 27th May. As a consequence of this a PEACEFUL rally was called at short notice on Friday evening to take place the following day outside the Sikh Cultural Centre. A protocol was released for all attendees to observe. See link.
Hundreds of Sikhs attended the Rally
Despite such short notice the rally was attended by approximately 500 Sikhs young and old alike including men, women and children from across the country. The attendees included representatives from various other Sikh Gurdwaras in the Midlands. From various eye witness accounts and video footage we have been given, the 6 hour peaceful rally outside the Sikh Cultural Centre involved children, men, women and the elderly chanting and reciting prayers to raise awareness of the gross sacrilege that was taking place. Free food (Langar) and refreshments (tea and water) were provided to all those attending the rally and also the Police.
Whilst the vast majority who attended remained peaceful and engaged in chanting and reciting prayers there was unfortunately a small element of disorder which was provoked by those supporting the meat and alcohol party. The Satkaar Campaign does NOT condone any such behaviour and is, and will always remain, a PEACEFUL movement that makes all attempts to resolve issues through raising awareness and dialogue. Representatives of the Satkaar Campaign and other Gurdwaras remained in full dialogue with the West Midlands Police before and during the rally.
Following various discussions and attempts at mediation during the rally, representatives of the GNSS Dudley Gurdwara management committee and trust, present at the Sikh Cultural Centre, agreed to sit down with representatives of other Sikh Gurdwaras and other Sikh community leaders. Following discussions between them in the presence of the West Midlands Police, the GNSS Dudley Gurdwara representatives accepted that their actions had infuriated the sentiments of the Sikh Community for which they were apologetic. The representatives confirmed that the Sikh Cultural Centre was indeed part of the GNSS Dudley Gurdwara estate and that it would remain so.
They crucially accepted that the GNSS Dudley Gurdwara would now implement the 2006 Akal Takht Sandesh by way of prohibiting parties with meat and alcohol at the Sikh Cultural Centre and all other premises belonging or related to the GNSS Dudley Gurdwara with immediate effect. The GNSS Dudley Gurdwara representatives agreed to sign a statement to such effect and to confirm the same in writing to the Akal Takht Sahib in Amritsar India within seven days. The full statement signed by the GNSS Gurdwara trustees and committee representatives can be read below;
In a press release from the Satkaar Campaign they expressed their thanks to the representatives of the GNSS Dudley Gurdwara for the courageous and historical decision that they have taken in difficult circumstances and were thankful to the representatives of the various Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations for their involvement in resolving this issue.
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Singho we have to make change here in Canada because Sikh Jehar center Brampton allows kabaddi and teyaa da mella etc. Numbers of people drink alcohol in gurdwara compound and dance(singing gand). It's good start in UK. We should do here too.