December 2, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Vilvoorde, Belgium: Gurdwara Guru Nanak Sahib, Vilvoorde, Belgium was closed by Mayor Hans Bonte for one month in October upon allegations of harbouring illegal immigrants. The Gurdwara will now remain closed until at least 11 December 2014 pending consultation between the police, the prosecutor, the city and the Immigration Department. “There are indications that a network of illegal trafficking and smuggling has been recovered and it is therefore a tentative reopening does not arise,” says Mayor Bonte.
In October, eleven illegal Indian immigrants were discovered found in the shed at the Quai Parmentier. A total of twenty-three illegal Indian immigrants were discovered at the locations over the past year according to a police report. All were alleged to have frequented the Sikh Gurdwara where they partook in ‘Langar’.
Mayour Bonte states the new arrests last month were the reason to intervene immediately and drastically. Following consultation between Bonte, the Minister of Justice Koen Geens (CD & V) and Minister for Migration and Asylum Theo Francken (N-VA) the reopening of the Gurdwara for the time being denied. “At the initiative of the Immigration Department, consultation with the main parties in this case is scheduled on December 9. Only then will a decision be made however it is by no means certain that the temple will just open. ”
The local Sikh community and leaders have been outraged by the decision preventing access to the Gurdwara. Mayor Bonte states: “I convinced them of the fact that the network of smuggling trade had been recovered and that we were forced to take this measure. They are obviously not pleased with this extension but do want to contribute to a solution. “
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Related Topics: Sikhs in Belgium