(Op/ED by Jasvinder Singh) A recent article in the Express and Star of the UK posed a partial view and attempted to defame the largest Gurdwara Sahib in Wolverhampton. The Sikh Forum Wolverhampton which is representing the disabled is suing the Gurdwara Sahib for discriminating against those who require special needs.
The bias viewpoint in the article showed the Gurdwara committee discriminated against elderly and disabled, but in reality it’s false.
The first line of the article says “Worshippers are suing the largest Sikh temple in Wolverhampton after accusing it of discriminating against the elderly and disabled – by making people in wheelchairs sit behind a screen.”
Rajinder Bassi of the forum is quoted in the article stating, “What is happening to disabled and older people is degrading. They are missing out on the spiritual aspect and want to be able to join others upstairs. There’s nothing in our faith that says the temple should do this.”
A disabled member of the sangat says, “The tables here are kept out of sight. We are being excluded.”
However, pictures from the Gurdwara tell a different story and show the needs of the disabled and elderly sangat are being met. Of all the accusations by the forum, the only one which requires action is a blue screen in the langar hall.
In a statement, the Gurdwara committee stated:
“In line with the Sikh principles of worship and serving the community through its open door policy for all regardless of gender, age, race, wealth or faith including those of no faith, the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee have over the years provided a series of ‘reasonable adjustments’ which cater for those who are unable to be seated in the two main areas of the Gurdwara, these being the Darbar Sahib where the religious programmes are held and the Langar Hall where the congregation are served blessed food and also socialise with family and friends.
“These provisions will be modernised once the approved new building costing nearly two million pounds is constructed this year.”
The forum wants chairs inside the Diwan Hall which is against a Hukamnama of the Akal Takht Sahib. According to the Akal Takht, the disabled are allowed to sit but only in the back of the Gurdwara Sahib which the committee has complied with.
A deliberate attempt is being made to defame the Gurdwara committee even after meeting the special need requirements. The committee is actually spending 2 million pounds further provide accessibility to those with special needs.