100 Sikhs guard Seven Kings and Ilford Gurdwaras overnight
Hundreds of Sikhs stood outside Ilford and Seven Kings temples this week in defiance of the ongoing civil unrest.
The group formed a solid presence in Ilford and Seven Kings High Road where they patrolled into the early hours of the morning, determined to protect the Gurdwara Karamsar and the Singh Sabha London East from opportunistic violence.
The orders had not come from any Sikh council, but elders within the community had decided it was necessary to keep a vigil outside the temple on what marked the second and third nights of civil unrest in London and some suburbs. Members of the Sikh community in Redbridge are planning to stand guard at temples again tonight.
Spokesman for the British Sikh Council, and Chairman of the Singh Sabha in Seven Kings, Upkar Singh Rai, said the community was doing all it could to help police.
“We have had a meeting with the police and asked how can we help, without aggravating the situation. We told them we will look after our temples and protect ourselves,” he added.
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“Police stopped and waved, and some even came in to have tea during the course of the night,” said Mr Singh Rai.
“I’ve had two hours sleep last night as we finished at 4.30am and I’m exhausted, but we are keeping ourselves going and planning a strategy for tonight,” he added.
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Chairwoman of the Sikh Women’s Alliance, and Seven Kings ward councillor Balvinder Saund, said the solidarity was a testament to the community minded faith.
“I think there is a vigilante streak in many Sikh people, they have been used to looking after themselves for centuries.
“It’s that support in them that comes out when there’s any danger,” she added.