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UK temples which have not been adhering to basic Sikh principles by allowing meat and alcohol to be served on their premises are being reminded of their loyalty to the Akal Takht Sandesh code by the UK Sangat.

The organisation calculates that there are 16 or 17 British gurdwara which have slipped from grace in this way.

They have sent protestors to a temple in Grays, Essex, and to the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Edinburgh to register their feelings and argue for a return to the tenets of the faith.  Other temples will also be approached.

BBC News has reported the start of a national campaign and journalists on its Asian Network have seen video footage showing scenes inside gurdwaras that many Sikhs would find offensive.

One of the UK Sangat’s leading campaigners, Hardip Singh, said what was happening in Britain showed disrespect for Sikhs worldwide.

He said: “If you want to do it privately, we are not going to fight or argue with you, that’s your business. But to tolerate it on holy places – we can’t accept that.”

The UK Sangat’s efforts resulted in 250 protestors assembling for a peaceful demonstration to stop a wedding party at the Grays temple in October. After discussion, the wedding ceremony was held but not the party.

UK Sangat says that rules are sometimes being flouted in halls owned by temples but although the events in question are often fundraisers for the temple’s work, the halls should still be regarded as sacred ground governed by the Sikh code.

The Sangat believes that some temple leaders will want to continue breaking the code and anticipates some tough negotiations in the months ahead.

In Edinburgh in November the Guru Nanak Gurdwara committee – accused of violating the Akal Takht Sandesh code prohibiting consumption or promotion of meat, alcohol, tobacco, dancing and parties on temple property – announced that it would abide by the rules in future.

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