Wednesday, May 28, 2008


On Monday, my family and I attended the weekly simran programme at Leamington Spa. At the end of the programme two men approached my dad and said that need a place to stay. The Gurdwara sevadaar had made it clear that it was not possible for them to stay at the Gurdwara so they were asking around to see if anyone could help them. They said that they wanted to go to Newcastle and wanted to sleep for a few hours at the Gurdwara, and then leave at 4am to catch the train (thinking back, what train leaves at 4am for Newcastles?).

The two men were clean-shaven and looked like they had come from Panjab recently. They claimed that they had been dropped off by Lorry at the McDonald's near the Gurdwara and that a Pakistani man had told them where the Gurdwara was (slightly odd, considering that there are not many Pakistanis in Leamington). My dad asked them if they wanted some Langar but they said they had already eaten Langar (although there was no Langar before the end of the Simran programme). They began to plea with the Sangat members for help and one shed a tear or two. It seemed like a sad situation. They got out a mobile phone and started talking to someone. They said they had spoken to their relative in Newcastle who was waiting for them. One man said, "Please help. It is cold outside. We don't want to sleep on the streets." Waheguru.

Everyone else was eating Samosay and drinking hot milk. The two men were asked, "Drink some hot milk." But they said, "We don't want to drink milk." Chalo (slightly strange that young men straight from Panjab would refuse such a thing like milk!). Uncle jee from Coventry decided to take them and help them out. They sat in the car and Uncle jee asked for the number of their relative in Newcastle where they wished to go. The man reluctantly gave the number. When Uncle jee rang the number, it was a bogus number. Then Uncle jee rang the Gurdwara in Coventry to say keep Langar Paanee ready and that two men were coming. The Giani jee said that two men fitting the same description had come to Coventry Gurdwara the day before with a similar story. Something was not right!

Uncle jee asked the men if they were the same people who went to Coventry Gurdwara the day before. They now turned from being sad and emotional to becoming angry in their tone. Their body language totally changed and they now lost all the humility that they had earlier shown. Something else to note is that sympathetic members of the Sangat gave them money for their journey - in total £80. On top of that they got a bag full of Samosay, cans of coke, crisps and fruit. Uncle jee pulled over the car and said that you are not genuine and that you are crooks. They opened the car door and got out. Apparently there have been some similar incidents in Coventry and the men have been drug addicts looking for some easy cash through preying on sympathetic people at Gurdware.

In short these men were CRIMINALS who were preying on Sangat of the Gurdwara. There is no doubt that they probably planned to steal money or other items from the Gurdwara if they had stayed. It is a shame that genuine people seeking for help lose out sometimes because of fraudsters like these men!



Anonymous said...

Thats just terrible ....what sort of world do we live in .... can you beleive they took a bag full of samosa ....:(

Anonymous said...

This happened recently with someone I know, but in their case it was a Punjabi woman of mid-age who tried it on with a sob story. Her bogus story is that she wanted a place to stay and that the place she was staying the people have left for the day and that she was told to leave.

The people I knew were genuinley concerend for her and wanted to get her place in a refuge or even talk to the Gurdwara for her. but she just wanted to stay in a house and live of the people. She made up a story that her british born husband had mistreated her and that she had left him. They asked her for the details and said that they will call her relatives in the UK and tell them. She said she didn't have the numbers. Which sounds dodgy as Punjabis can remember the most phone numbers when they need to!

When they said they will take her to the Gurdwara and help her she just got up and left. The people figured out that her story didn't add up and probably were saved from having her stay in their house.

But this makes you wander, as Sikhs we are supposed to help those in need. But we now have people who prey on that quality and try to take you for a ride.

All I hope is Guru Jee takes care of that woman and makes her see sense in her ways before something bad happens to her.

Varinder Singh said...

This has happened a few times over here in S.E London. It's happening all too often now.

Anonymous said...

waheguru kirpa karn ji
waheguru ohna nu appe samrat bakshan

Anonymous said...

It might be useful to send a note out to all Gurdwara Sahibs and other sikh organisations in the UK about these incidents.

It may be an idea to suggest some guidelines on how to find out if the people and their stories are genuine.

It’s very important to make clear that there may be some genuine cases among the dishonest ones, and that we don't want to turn them away.

We still need to be sympathetic and kind; present a good image of Sikhi.