‘Hate incident’ at Bradford Gurdwara: Lessons have been learned after throwing of Guru Granth Sahib Ji
Senior police officers from Bradford attended a meeting in the city last week to speak with the Sikh community about a hate incident involving their holy text, Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
The incident occurred on Friday night when a unnamed person, dressed in ‘a hoodie’, reportedly threw the Guru Granth Sahib Ji over the closed fence at the Gurdwara.
Chief Superintendent Simon Atkin and Detective Chief Inspector Gary Hooks from Bradford District Police informed the meeting at the Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara that the person responsible for the incident, which occurred on Friday 12th August, had been identified.
Enquiries are now continuing into the matter which is being treated as a hate incident.
President of the Gurdwara, Ranbir Singh Rai, speaking after the public meeting on Friday 19th August, said it had been a learning curve for all involved.
“I’m not saying the police were wrong in their handling, they just didn’t know how we respect the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. They didn’t realise how serious this was.
“I had to explain to them that the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is not our holy book it is our living Guru. We respect it as a living Guru. Then they took it seriously.”
He added: “To be honest, I am quite happy with the police. We have learnt so many things from the force today and we thank them for coming in.”
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji had reportedly come into the possession of the suspect after the passing of her mother and father.
It was only discovered at the temple on Saturday by a member of the Gurdwara after he noticed an object on the ground.
Police were contacted later that day but did not send an officer to the Gurdwara until Monday - something they apologised for during the public meeting attended by around 100 people.
“They didn’t know how much we respect the Guru Granth Sahib Ji,” Mr Rai added.
“I received phone calls from across the world – America, India, Italy – because they had all heard what happened to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
“The whole of the Sikh community is very upset but there are no politics behind this.
“Somebody had the Guru Granth Sahib Ji in their house. Their father and mother died and she didn’t know what to do with the Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
“That’s why she thought ‘I can leave it in the Gurdwara’. She made the wrong decision, she threw it over the gate.
“She told the police that she couldn’t get inside to pick it up as the gates were locked but she shouldn’t have done what she did.”
Mr Rai says he will now speak with the Gurdwara committee and The Board of Bradford Gurdwaras to see what the next step should be.