UK £300,000 Fire Attack Probe At Sikh Temple


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
£300,000 fire attack probe at Sikh temple

By David Kessen
ONE of Doncaster's main Sikh temples is facing an estimated £300,000 repair bill after a suspected arson attack.
And the community faces the prospect of raising the cash themselves because no insurance was in place when the fire devastated the site.

The fire has caused major damage to the Guru Arjan Deu Ji Gurdwara temple on Cherry Tree Road, Hexthorpe, which is one three Sikh places of worship in the borough.

And it came just five months after vandals broke into the site and stole copper piping and electrical wire, and the central heating system.

Work had just been completed to repair the building after the vandalism this summer and the temple was due to re-open to worships this month - but now leaders say they are back to square one.

But they are relieved that the temple's collection of scriptures - called the Guru Granth Sahib Ji - were not harmed by the fire because they had been removed for safe storage after the last attack of vandalism.

A spokesman for the temple said the fire had been on the ground floor, and had "destroyed" the building, with fire damage on the ground floor and smoke damage upstairs.

Valuable paintings, swords and religious items were destroyed.
The temple was opened in 1983 and has held hundreds of festivals and events over the 27 years since then.

Chairman of the temple, Rashpal Singh, said: "The whole of the building has been damaged by this.

"We just cannot understand what sort of human being would do this to a place of worship. What sort of understanding have they got?

"The one thing of any consolation in this is that the scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, were not in the building when this happened.

"If they had been destroyed there would have been national uproar by the Sikh community. The reason they were not is that the temple was already under renovation."

He called for more protection for the site.

Police are appealing for information on the cause of fire which was reported around 10am on December 30. Firefighters worked for several hours to put the blaze out. Nobody was in the building at the time.

A spokesman said: "At this time police are treating the fire as suspicious and ask anyone who may have witnessed it or have information to contact them on 0114 220 2020 quoting incident number 263 of December 30."

Now the Sikh community is rallying to try to repair the site as soon as possible. They are hoping to restore the temple in the next six months.
Spokesman Jarnel Singh said it would be a difficult task, but members were in talks to do the work.

The first stage is to clean up the site, and an appeal is going out to the wider Doncaster community and businesses for any assistance.

Mr Singh said they were appealing for anyone who could offer their services or equipment to help with the work.

Anyone who can help should call Mr Singh on 07596 272 93

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