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Holy book allegedly stolen causes dispute between 2 Sikh temples in Regina – Regina

A holy book was allegedly stolen from a Sikh temple in Regina. Community leaders say it’s more than just a scripture for them, it is considered the voice of God and treated as a sovereign emperor would be.

It was allegedly taken from the Gurudwara (Sikh temple) on the 1200 Block of Park St. in Regina on August 21 at around 4 p.m. by members of a different Gurudwara at 3905 Princess Drive.

“Suddenly, around 15 people came into the temple and said we are taking away the holy book and threatened me by saying what is the need for another Gurudwara in Regina,” said Dharmender Singh, the priest at the Gurudwara.

Image of the Sikh holy book that was allegedly stolen from the Sikh Temple on the 1200 Block of Park St. in Regina on August 21 at around 4 p.m.

Durlabh Singh

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Singh made a police complaint Saturday accusing members from the other Gurudwara of forcefully taking the Sikh holy book.

The Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, is considered a living guru of the Sikh community. Installed on a throne, it is treated as a sovereign ruler.

There is more to the story, according to the people who took it, who spoke to Global News. They say pages of the Sikh holy book were torn and it was not being cared for according to their code of conduct, evidence for them that it wasn’t being handled in a respectful way.

Torn page, taped together of the allegedly stolen Guru Granth Sahib.

Durlabh Singh

They decided to intervene and take it to a sacred place in a different Gurudwara for safekeeping until the matter is resolved.

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Bill Singh (left) Sikh Society of Regina President and priest at Gurudwara located at 3905 Princess Drive. Showing where they keep holy books that are old and or need fixing.

Aishwarya Dudha / Dave Parsons

Balpreet Singh, legal counsel and a spokesperson for the World Sikh Organization, said that torn pages are considered a serious violation of their code of conduct.

“The pages are called ‘ang,’ which means limb. So tearing a page of guru granth sahib is considered to be a very, very serious violation. It’s very disrespectful to do that,” Balpreet said.

“Usually where the community finds out that respect is an issue, there is an intervention, the community members go to the person involved and try and resolve the situation. Part of that could mean that the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is taken away while the situation is resolved.”

He added that it’s not just a piece of property for them, “you can’t look at it as though it’s one person’s property or another. It is collectively the responsibility of the community to make sure that the Guru Granth Sahib is treated in the proper, respectful manner.”

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Priest at Grudwara located at 3905 Princess Drive turning the pages of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Dave Parsons

Balpreet said that a decorum is followed while attending to the holy book.

“Whenever you attend to Guru Granth Sahib, you are expected to be wearing clean clothes and to treat the Guru Granth Sahib Ji in as much and as gentle a way as possible, for example, when you’re turning the ‘ang’ or the pages, to use both hands. So to have a page ripped is a serious issue for us.”

Cloths used to cover the Sikh holy book.

Dave Parsons

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He said that it’s important for these kinds of issues to be resolved in an amicable manner and for everyone to be willing to find a solution that works for everyone.

“Given that the sensitivities in the community are very great when it comes to the respective Guru Granth Sahib, I think everyone should respect that,” he said.

“Where a Guru Granth Sahib was ripped and there are accusations of disrespect or not following the proper decorum, I think it’s natural and it’s normal for the community to find a solution collectively,” Balpreet said.

He said that elders from the community have been asked to come and mediate the situation and that he thinks that is a good step to find out what both sides of the story are to make sure proper respect is being given to the sacred book.

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Balpreet added that this is a sensitive matter for the community because since 2015, there have been a string of incidents of the Guru Granth Sahib being disrespected or ripped in India in order to instigate the Sikh community, which makes Canadians alert to make sure nothing similar happens here.

“Where there are reports of Sri Guru Granth Sahib grants now being ripped, for example, I think it’s natural that the community would react in a very serious manner.”

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He added that he is not directly involved in this incident but he hopes the community can find a solution in good faith which means sitting together and making sure everyone understands and gives respect where it is due and where mistakes have been made, to try to find a resolution and move forward.

Gary Grewal, MLA for Regina Northeast, said that one party is claiming that the Guru Granth Sahib was taken by force. On the other hand, he spoke to the Sikh Society of Regina and they say that nothing like that happened. According to Grewal, they said the book was peacefully brought to the other Gurudwara for safe keeping and are in discussion with the elders regarding what to do with this matter.

I definitely think that this could have been solved in a different manner. They could have arranged a meeting between two groups and shared their feelings on what is going wrong and what’s not. Instead of just showing up there,” Grewal said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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