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First Minister meets Sikh community at Glasgow Gurdwara
Mr Salmond visited Gurdwara Guru Granth Sahib in Glasgow and met with community leaders and individual Sikhs. During the visit, he gave an address to the Sikh Community before visiting the Panjabi school where 300 pupils learn the Panjabi language. After this, he partook in the Langar, the free community kitchen, which serves 2000 meals per week.
The highlight of the visit was the exhibition of the ‘1984 Battle of Amritsar’ when the Indian Army attacked and destroyed the Sikh’s holiest centre, the Golden Temple.
The First Minister’s visit fell on the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Sikh genocide and the Gurdwara’s Young Sikh Leaders informed him about the campaign by Scottish Sikhs to uncover the true scale of the disaster. A parliamentary debate will be held in Holyrood to mark this event on the 10th June. He committed to supporting the campaign and making representations on behalf of the Scottish Government.
During the visit, Mr Salmond met the volunteers who run the Gurdwara and co-ordinate its community services.
The First Minister said:
“This Gurdwara is more than a building, it is the beating heart of the Sikh Community which is rightly situated in the very centre of multicultural Scotland. Thousands of Sikhs from across Scotland come here on a weekly basis to practice their faith, celebrate, learn and connect with their heritage. It is a truly special space that everyone in Scotland should be proud of. The weekly Panjabi classes give hundreds of young Scots the opportunity to connect with their mother tongue, which is a vital part of the community facility.
“The Glasgow Gurdwara is an impressive building on the outside and a hive of activity of the inside. As well as a safe space to worship, the building hosts a community kitchen run entirely by volunteers serving Langar – free food to the thousands that visit. Langar is a founding principle of Sikhism and an integral part of any Gurdwara.
“Scotland has been home to generations of Sikhs and the establishment of this special place of worship in Glasgow demonstrates their huge commitment to settling in this country and is testament to the welcoming and friendly nature of Scottish people.”
Surinder Singh, president of the Gurdwara welcomed the First Minister and said:
“We are delighted to welcome the First Minister to the Glasgow Gurdwara and are pleased that he has taken the time to come and learn more about our community. Sikhs have lived in Scotland for over 100 years and we are a growing community with a growing voice.
“This visit is particularly more poignant given that the Sikh community is marking the 30th anniversary of the disastrous Indian Army attack on the Golden Temple in 1984. We hope that the First Minister and his Government will use every method to uncover the truth of that operation and deliver justice for the innocent victims.
“As a charitable organisation, we rely on our members to support the Gurdwara and its services. With over 200 pupils enrolled in educational activities and recently started adult education classes, we are proud to be at the heart of Glasgow.
“The doors of the Gurdwara are open to everyone at all times and we welcome the whole Scottish community to attend and share in our great religious and cultural heritage.”
The First Minister visited the Darbar Hall where he paid his respects to the Guru Granth Sahib ji (Sikh Scriptures) and gave a short address. He then participated in the Langar (free kitchen), where he took part in Seva (voluntary service) by flipping rotis on the hotplate and served the Langar to the members of the community.
Completing the experience, he sat down to a hearty vegetarian meal himself and enjoyed the culinary experience of the Langar.
For further information and pictures, contact: GlasgowGurdwara@hotmail.co.uk
For further information, visit www.GlasgowGurdwara.org
Charandeep Singh – 07922405730