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London riots: Indians protect Southall gurdwara

Press Trust Of India
Aug 10, 2011 at 07:29pm IST

London: Cries of 'Jo bole so nihal, sat sri akal' rent the air as over 700 Sikhs and other Britons of Indian origin gathered around the Guru Singh Sabha gurdwara in Southall to protect the place of worship against rioting mobs on the streets of London.

The gurdwara, the largest in London, brought together the Asian community in Southall with people holding swords, 'kirpans' and hockey sticks.

There were reports about the possibility of the gurdwara being targeted, but no such event was reported so far.

London riots: Indians protect Southall gurdwara

A group of rioters tried to attack the heart of Southall in the early hours on Tuesday.

Reports from Southall said that hooded youths were seen in the areas, but had been frightened off by the large presence outside the gurdwara.

A group of rioters tried to attack the heart of the area in the early hours on Tuesday, but soon groups gathered to protect the gurdwara as community elders asked for help.

Gurdwara general secretary Parvinder Singh Garcha said, "We want to show them (the rioters) we are here together. We want for them to discuss if they have a problem, we will address that with them but certainly we will not stand for any kind of wanton violence."

Local resident Amarjit Singh Klair said, "We are working alongside the police, they're doing what they can but they're stretched. Why shouldn't we defend our homes, businesses and places of worship? This is our area. There's lots of talk about it kicking off here. But we're ready for them."

Turkish and Bangladeshi groups have also been chasing would-be looters out of their neighbourhoods in east London.

Local vigilante groups have been formed in various areas in London to protect homes and business establishments that gave been vandalised by rioters - mainly of Afro-Caribbean origin - in London over the past four days.

These include shops owned by businessmen of Indian origin in Harrow and Ealing.

Southall in west London has a large population of Indian origin, which rallied together when, apprehending violence, elders in the gurdwara appealed to the community for help.

Groups of Sikh men stood guard at different parts of the town, keeping in touch via their mobiles.

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