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Manchester attack: Sikhs in the forefront to provide help

Four gurdwaras near the Manchester Arena offered shelter and food to anyone in need, while several Sikh taxi drivers switched off their meters on Monday night, offering transport to homes or hospitals.

world Updated: May 24, 2017 16:12 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
A member of the Sikh community at a vigil in Manchester on Tuesday.
A member of the Sikh community at a vigil in Manchester on Tuesday.(via Twitter)

From taxi driver Mann Singh and volunteers from Birmingham, to local gurdwaras, members of the Sikh community were at hand to offer transport, food, water and shelter as people struggled to come to terms with the Monday terror attack in Manchester.

Members of the community with placards reading “I Love MCR” were among the most conspicuous in Tuesday evening’s vigil in Manchester, attended by thousands of people mourning the 22 killed in the Manchester Arena blast.

Names and addresses of four gurdwaras near the area which offered shelter and food to anyone in need were retweeted. Mann Singh and other Sikh drivers switched off their taxi meters on Monday night, transporting many people in panic to their homes or hospitals.

Many tweeted video clips and photos of Sikhs offering help. Such help was also extended by the local Muslim communities.

The four gurdwaras that remained open throughout the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday were Sri Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara Educational and Cultural Centre, Gurdwara Sri Guru Harkrisham Sahib, Dasmesh Sikh Temple and Central Gurdwara Manchester.

The Sikh Council UK said in a statement: “The Sikh community stands in solidarity with the people of Manchester at this difficult time and we are heartened to read the stories of Sikhs assisting the victims and their families during this atrocity.

“We encourage all Sikh gurdwara managements to arrange prayers for the victims and their families and to attend community initiatives to show solidarity at this time.”

“The gurdwaras of Manchester offering shelter and more to those impacted by the atrocities at the Manchester Arena are simply fulfilling their remit,” a spokesperson for Everythings 13, a Sikh educational charity, was quoted by Metro.co.uk as saying.

“Gurdwara means ‘Guru’s door’, and all are open to all people, regardless of faith, race or gender. The Sikh community has historically been one people in need could turn to.

“It is up to modern day Sikhs to ensure this continues and it is heartening to see the younger generation taking this responsibility, as we saw when many took to social media to encourage people to use Manchester’s gurdwaras for shelter, as well as in the actions of Sikh taxi drivers who offered free rides across the city.”