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Gurdwara Sahib in Brussels (Belgium) may have re-opened, but restrictions are unacceptable: Sikh Federation UK

December 18, 2014 | By

London: Sikh Federation UK has raised concern over restrictions placed by Belgian authorities on the Gurdwara Sahib.

Pointing towards the restrictions placed on Guru Nanak Gurdwara Sahib by Belgian authorities, as reported in the Belgian Newspapers, Sikh Federation General Secretary Gurjeet Singh said: “Gurdwara in Brussels may have re-opened, but restrictions are unacceptable”.

Guru Nanak Gurudwara Sahib, Belgium

Guru Nanak Gurudwara Sahib, Belgium

The authorities had enforced closure over the Gurdwara Sahib for allegedly providing free food to ‘illegal immigrants’. The Gurdwara management had said that the Gurdwara Sahib, Sikh place of worship was open for everyone to visit and providing langar (free food) to the devotees/ visitors was part of Sikh tradition. ‘We can not check every visitor’s immigration status’ the Gurdwara management had told authorities. The Gurdwara Sahib was recently reopened after more than 7 weeks enforced closure.

Sikh Federation UK has pointed out that the Belgian authorities have ‘ordered’ that the Gurdwara Sahib will remains closed between 8pm and 7am. “This in totally unacceptable for a Gurdwara to operate effectively. In this situation no Akhand Paath Sahib will be possible. This restriction will also affect the Nitnem in Gurdwara Sahib”, said Gurjeet Singh.

The Belgian authorities have said that the police will regularly check the id cards in the area around the Gurdwara, which would lead to undue harassment of Sikh Sangat. “Why should law abiding Sikhs be treated as criminals?” asked Sikh Federation UK.

Other undue conditions placed on Guru Nanak Gurdwara Sahib, as reported by Belgian Newspapers are that ‘during opening hours it should be clear who is in charge’; ‘once in every three months both parties will meet in order to work on a good working relation’ and ‘the management of the Gurdwara will immediately report any indication of illegality and smuggling to the police’.

The Sikh Federation UK in a communication with the Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) stated that the the Belgium press is reporting that the Gurdwara Sahib was involved in people smuggling, which needs to be strongly challenged. The UK based Sikh body said that the restrictions placed by Belgian authorities need to be challenged.

Related: Belgian Gurdwara Sahib reopens after over 7 weeks enforced closure; Sikh Council UK welcomes move

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