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London terror attack: Sikhs offer refuge, help at Gurudwaras

As terror struck at the heart of London a second time this year, Sikhs opened their doors to those stranded, offering refuge at Gurudwaras.

world Updated: Jun 04, 2017 20:21 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Police attend to an incident near London Bridge in London, Britain, June 3, 2017.
Police attend to an incident near London Bridge in London, Britain, June 3, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

The Sikh community rallied to extend food, water and shelter to many tourists and others stranded following Saturday night’s terror attack in London Bridge and the Borough Market, repeating the community’s widely appreciated help after the May 22 attack in Manchester. (UPDATES)

Names and addresses of gurdwaras in central London and nearby areas were tweeted and shared extensively on social media. Thousands of people could not reach home after nearby tube stations were closed after the attack.

Phaldip Singh, who describes himself as an entrepreneur and youth activist, tweeted that the Sikh temples were open to provide food and shelter for those affected.

The gurdwaras identified included Ramgarhia Sikh Gurdwara Temple, Singh Sabha Gurdwara North East London and Khalsa Centre, Tooting Gurdwara.

On Sunday afternoon, a large section of theSikh community gathered at Trafalgar Square for a rally to remember those killed in 1984 after Operation Bluestar. The gathering also paid tributes to those killed on Saturday night.

The Sikh Federation UK said in a statement: “Having discussed arrangements for the Remembrance and Freedom event with the Metropolitan Police last night and this morning we have come to the mutual decision that the event today (Sunday 4 June) will continue”.

“This sends a strong message to all terrorists that they will never stop us remembering the tens of thousands of Sikhs who lost their lives in 1984. It will also be an opportunity to remember and to stand shoulder to shoulder with the innocents killed and injured in the last few weeks in Manchester and London.”

One of the most shared eyewitness accounts of Saturday’s terror attack was one by taxi driver Aksha Patel, who told Sky News how a woman, who was part of a couple in his cab on Saturday night, used her own body to barricade a the door of a restaurant in order to stop a terrorist entering.

He said: “’There were two passengers, they came out of the restaurant…how they described it to me was they were preventing the guys from getting into the restaurant. She knew they were bad people trying to break in”.

“She managed to hold the door for a few seconds but they overpowered her. People managed to escape through the rear door so she saved maybe 20 people’s lives”.