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Police called to Ilford gurdwara after tensions boil over

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
4:17 PM

The police had to be called after tensions boiled over at a gurdwara when a group of 50 people “wanted to run services in their own way”.

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Officials from the Guru Nanak Satsang Karamsar gurdwara called police on Sunday to “witness” how they were dealing with the large group.

Tensions have been escalating over the past nine months between the two sects and came to a head when services were being disturbed at about 4pm.

Harmander Singh, from the gurdwara, said: “We used the public address system and have asked them repeatedly not to hold their own services at the gurdwara as we already have our own. We put up a notice on the board and they refused to meet with the gurdwara officials.”

He says that the group of worshipers started coming to the gurdwara in High Road, Ilford after their own was closed down.

“There were some of them who wanted to run services in their own way,” he said. “There was no altercation but there was a debate at the end and they now realise that the gurdwara is not a soft touch.”

Police had come under criticism after a video was posted on YouTube showing them wearing shoes inside the gurdwara, but Mr Singh said that this was not the case.

He said: “They were in a section that was being refurbished. They were not in the prayer hall.

“The police follow rules when they are on duty. If the gurwara was on fire I’m assuming those people wouldn’t want the firemen to take their shoes off before putting it out.”

In fact, Mr Singh praised police for how they handled the situation.

“I thought they handled it really well,” he added. “Their conduct on this occasion was excellent and they weren’t provoked by some of the questions being put to them by these people.”

This was echoed by fellow worshiper Jas Singh, 31, from Ilford who said: “I think the police were totally fair and asked them to calm down.

“The temple had asked these people four times to come to the office to try and find out what was going on.”

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