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Sikh Protesters Disrupt Wedding !

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Sikh protesters disrupt wedding

Robert Booth
Monday June 27, 2005
The Guardian ( UK)

Sikh leaders called for restraint last night after about 40 religious protesters forced the abandonment of a wedding at a conference and banqueting centre in Slough, Berkshire, by storming the venue and seizing a holy book central to the ceremony.
Angered that the sacred text, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, was being used in a place where alcohol, meat and cigarettes were available, the protesters snatched the book from a priest who fell to the ground amid chaotic scenes.

The wedding on Saturday was halted by a campaign group which had travelled by bus from Leamington Spa after searching the internet for details of weddings which might break religious rules. They told yesterday how they struck as the holy book was carried in traditional fashion on the priest's head across the car park. Two protesters wrested the book from the priest and took it to a place of worship for safekeeping.
Police were called and found the priest still lying on the ground in the car park. They stood guard at the centre overnight and Sikh weddings passed off without problems yesterday.

The practice of taking the Siri Guru Granth Sahib out of sanctified environments is prohibited by Sikh leaders in India and there has been concern in the UK at the contravention of these rules for weddings held outside temples.

"We will not tolerate the use of the holy book in social venues," said Jaswinder Singh Ubhi, leader of the Respect to Guru Granth Sahibji Campaign, which led the protest. "We will use any means whatsoever to stop this happening. All we had to do was make sure we got the holy book and got the hell out of there to the nearest temple and restored the book to its rightful place.

"The biggest culprits are the Sikh communities themselves. When we have multimillion pound temples which can accommodate up to 1,000 people, why do they need to go out and get married in hotels?"

According to the Network of Sikh Organisations, there have been several recent protests against use of the book in secular locations, but it thought Saturday's direct action was the first of its kind and a sign of an emerging "hardline" approach.
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