ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ ਅਤੇ ਬਿ੍ਰਟਸ਼ ਸਿੱਖ ਕੰਸਲਟਿਟਵ ਫੋਰੱਮ ਨੇ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਅਤੇ ਸਨਬੰਧਿਤ ਮਹਿਕਮਿਆ ਨੂੰ ਭੇਜਿਆ ਪੱਤਰ: ‘ਗੁਰੂ ਦਰਸ਼ਨ ਅਤੇ ਸਾਧ ਸੰਗਤ ਸਿਖੀ ਦੇ ਵਿਲੱਖਣ ਅੰਗ’

ਕੱਲ ਸ਼ਾਮ ਯੂ.ਕੇ. ਦੇ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਬੋਰਿਸ ਜਾਨਸਨ ਦੇ ਸੰਬੋਧਨ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ ਅਤੇ ਬਿ੍ਰਟਸ਼ ਸਿਖ ਕੰਸਲਟਿਟਵ ਫੋਰੱਮ ਨੇ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਅਤੇ ਸੰਨਬਧਿਤ ਮਹਿਕਮਿਆ ਨੂੰ ਭੇਜਿਆ ਪੱਤਰ। ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਪ੍ਰਬੰਧਕਾ ਨੂੰ ਆਂ ਰਹੀਆ ਕਠਨਾਈਆ ਅਤੇ ਸਿਖ ਧਰਮ ਵਿੱਚ ਗੁਰੂ ਦਰਸ਼ਨ ਅਤੇ ਸਾਧ ਸੰਗਤ ਦੇ ਵਿਲੱਖਣ ਸੰਕਲਪ ਤੋਂ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਨੂੰ ਕਰਾਇਆ ਗਿਆ ਜਾਣੂ।

ਜਾਗਤ-ਜੋਤ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਦਰਸ਼ਨ ਦੀ ਅਭਿਲਾਖਾ ਅਤੇ ਜ਼ਰੂਰਤ ਹਰ ਸਿੱਖ ਨੂੰ ਹੈ।ਸਿੱਖ ਦੀ ਧਾਰਿਮਕ ਜ਼ਿੰਦਗੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਦਰਸ਼ਨਾ ਅਤੇ ਸੰਗਤ ਤੋਂ ਬਿਨਾ ਹੈ ਅਧੂਰੀ।

ਇਸ ਪਤੱਰ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਸੰਗਤਾ ਦੀ ਆਵਾ-ਜਾਈ ਲਈ ਦੁਬਾਰਾ ਖੋਲਣ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਖਾਸ ਸੇਧਾਂ ਦਾ ਖਰੜਾ ਵੀ ਪੇਸ਼ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਅਤੇ ਭਵਿੱਖ’ਚ ਕਰੋਨਾ ਦੇ ਬਚਾਅ ਲਈ ਦੋਵੇਂ ਜਥੇਬੰਦੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਸਾਂਝੀ ਟੀਮ ਦੇ ਗਠਨ ਦਾ ਵੀ ਐਲਾਨ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ।

ਸੁਖਜੀਵਨ ਸਿੰਘ
ਮੁਖ ਬੁਲਾਰਾ ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ.

Sikh Council UK and British Sikh Consultative Forum send joint letter to Government and Key Stakeholders: ‘Darshan and Sangat are unique aspects of Sikh Faith’

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation last night, Sikh Council UK and British Sikh Consultative Forum jointly presented a letter to Government and Key Stakeholders. This letter highlighted the difficulties faced by Gurdwaras across the United Kingdom and explained the importance of darshan and sangat in the Sikh faith.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee is the eternal, living Guru of Sikhs and Sikhs require darshan (access) of their Guru as an essential requirement of their faith. Sangat is a fundamental aspect of our spiritual growth and without it the practise of our faith is incomplete.

Alongside this letter, both organisations presented a draft guidance for ‘Achieving safely managed restarting of sangat services at Gurdwaras’ and announced the formation of a new team which will be supported by the Sikh Doctors Association.

Achieving safely managed reopening for Gurdwaras – V1.4 – BCSF and SCUK

Joint Letter to secretary of State

Sukhjeevan Singh Kandola

Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK

(077033205038/ info@sikhcouncil.co.uk)

 

 

In these testing times, Gurdwaras should all pursue opportunities to raise and save as much cash as possible, to ensure they can adequately function until there is some return to normality.

A swift return to normality once the lockdown ends is unlikely, the consequences for Gurdwara finances could be severe. Expect donations to be significantly lower and plan accordingly.

The key to survival and sustainability is to ensure you have enough cash to operate over prolonged period of reduced donations/income.

We are sharing our first-hand experience from running one of the largest Gurdwaras in the United Kingdom.

The following measures have successfully been used by our Gurdwara to improve our cashflows and can be applied to most Gurdwaras and Sikh charities:

  1. Banks are being very accommodating to requests to defer loan (capital) repayments. Getting payments suspended between 6-12 months is typical and achievable. The deferred repayments will extend the term of the loan. Speak to your relationship manager.
  2. Energy suppliers and HMRC (PAYE) are all allowing for payment plans. Speak to your utility companies and HMRC (Time to Pay) and agree on a payment plan of up to 12 months.
  3. If you have any hire purchases or leases (for equipment/vehicles), seek payment deferrals. Finance companies are providing payment deferrals of over three months.
  4. Notify utility companies if buildings are closed (particularly non-metered so they can reduce bills). Renegotiate electric, gas, water contracts- use a broker and ensure their commission rates are minimal. Check your energy bills to ensure that as a charity you are only paying 5% VAT. Charities are also exempt from the climate change levy (CCL).
  5. CBILS: The Government has changed its guidance so that Charities now qualify for the scheme. Previously Charities needed to have 50% of their income coming from trading activities. Under the scheme, Charities can borrow up to £5m over six years. Realistically, only larger Gurdwaras will be able to utilise this scheme.
  6. Bounce Back Loan: In response to the difficulties faced under the CBILS program, the bounce bank loan provides a 6-year loan of up to £50k with interest capped at 2.5%. The application is straight forward and based on a self-certification. We are finding that funds are typically released within 48 hours of an application. You will not need to make any payments for the first 12 months; however, you can repay the loan at any time. A £50k loan would result in monthly payments of £939 starting after the first year.
  7. Gift Aid– If your Gurdwara is not already claiming, start now. Qualifying donations will earn charities an extra 25%. The process is straight forward. At present Golak donations will not qualify for gift aid as declarations are not typically completed. There is a solution for this, see below.
  8. Gift Aid small donations scheme (GASDS)- This scheme lets Gurdwaras claim gift aid on Golak donations. Nearly all Gurdwara will be able to claim gift aid on contributions of up to £8k per tax year without the need for declarations. If a Gurdwara has more than one building in the same local authority, you can claim gift aid on donations of up to £8k per building. Gurdwaras can claim for the previous two tax years.
  9. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS- Furlough scheme). The Government will provide a grant of up to £2,500 per employee who have been furloughed as a result of COVID19. The cash grant is to cover the costs of paying employees from March to June 2020. The scheme is expected to continue in some form after June. The grant can be used to cover the costs of employees (Granthis, Langaris, admin and security staff). With Gurdwaras being closed, it is unlikely that there is enough work for all staff, this scheme will provide a cash grant to continue paying employees.
  10. If necessary, review staff hours and reduce. Ensure you follow HR best practice when changing employee terms and conditions.
  11. Grants: On 8 April the Government announced a £750 million package of funding to support the work of charities during the coronavirus outbreak. £370 million for small and medium-sized charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England, will support local organisations including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice. There is scope for Gurdwaras who are providing langar to qualify.  Some local authorities are also providing funding. A comprehensive list of grants is available on this link
  12. Online donations: Gurdwaras should encourage Sangat to set up standing orders and direct debits. Providers such as Gocardless make it simple for charities to set up and manage. Facebook and Instagram also allow for online donations to be made. Text to donate is available from DONR.
  13. Once Gurdwaras do reopen, there will be less Sangat visiting. Changes in behaviour will also mean Sangat donate less cash, with people being concerned about cash and coins harbouring the virus. Gurdwaras should look to install contactless Golaks and donation boxes.
  14. Some Gurdwaras own commercial and residential property. Although the retail market landscape remains challenging, Gurdwaras should consider letting out surplus assets to generate extra income.
  15. Review all expenditure and renegotiate pricing with suppliers. Review supplier statements and recover any amounts owed/overpayments.

Financial wellbeing depends on effective cash management. It is critical that Trustees of all Gurdwaras proactively implement steps to ensure they have adequate cash flow for the next 12 months. The future is uncertain, and it is likely an economic recession will place extra demands on Gurdwara services (such as langar), acting prudently now will ensure our Gurdwaras can successfully continue to serve the Sangat.

This Guidance was produced by membership organisation: Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall, General Secretary and Chartered Accountant – Harmeet Singh ACA

ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਵੈਬੀਨਾਰ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਸਿੱਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਅਤੇ ਹੋਰ ਸਬੰਧਤ ਮਹਿਕਮਿਆਂ ਕੋਲ ਪੇਸ਼ ਕਰੇਗਾ ਖਰੜਾ: ‘ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰੇ ਅਤੇ ਸਾਧ-ਸੰਗਤ ਸਿੱਖੀ ਦਾ ਅਨਿਖੜਵਾ ਅੰਗ’

੨੫ ਮਾਰਚ ਤੋਂ ਯੂ.ਕੇ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਨੇ ਕੋਰੋਨਾਵਾਈਰਸ ਕਾਰਨ ਸਮੂਹ ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਅਸਥਾਨਾ ਨੂੰ ਬੰਦ ਰੱਖਣ ਲਈ ਹਦਾਇਤ ਦਿੱਤੀ । ਇਸ ਸਬੰਧੀ ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ ਨੇ ਇੰਗਲੈਂਡ ਅਤੇ ਵੇਲਜ਼ ਦੇ ਬਹੁਤ ਸਾਰਿਆ ਇਲਾਕਿਆ ਤੋਂ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਪ੍ਰਬੰਧਕਾ ਨਾਲ ਵੈਬੀਨਾਰ ਦੇ ਮਾਧਿਅਮ ਨਾਲ ਦੀਰਘ ਵਿਚਾਰ ਕੀਤੀ। (ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨ ਅਤੇ ਨੁਮਾਇੰਦਿਆ ਦੀ ਸੂਚੀ ਇਸ ਲਿੰਕ ਤੋਂ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤ ਕੀਤੀ ਜਾਂ ਸਕਦੀ ਹੈ: https://sikhcouncil.co.uk/gurdwarawebinar/ )

ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਲਾਕਡੌਨ ਦੌਰਾਨ ਆਈਆ ਮੁਸ਼ਕਿਲਾ ਅਤੇ ਸਿਖ ਸੰਗਤਾ ਦੀ ਭਾਵਨਾ ਨੂੰ ਮੁਖ ਰਖਦੇ ਹੋਏ ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਨੇ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਨੂੰ ਪੇਸ਼ ਕੀਤਾ ਹੈ ਖਰੜਾ।

ਇਸ ਖਰੜੇ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਿੱਖ ਧਰਮ ਵਿੱਚ ‘ਸਾਧ ਸੰਗਤ’ ਦੇ ਮਹਾਨ ਅਤੇ ਵਿਲੱਖਣ ਸੰਕਲਪ ਬਾਰੇ ਅਹਿਮ ਮਹਿਕਮੇ ਨੂੰ ਦਿੱਤੀ ਗਈ ਹੈ ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਯੂ.ਕੇ. ਦੀ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਅਤੇ ਚੈਰਿਟੀ ਕਮਿਸ਼ਨ ਹਨ – ਅਸਲ ‘ਚ ਸੰਗਤਾਂ ਦਾ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦਰਸ਼ਨ ਕਰਨਾ ਅਤੇ ਸੰਗਤ ਕਰਨੀ ਸਿਖ ਜੀਵਨ ਦਾ ਅਨਿਖੜਵਾ ਅੰਗ ਹੈ।

ਸਿਖ ਕੌਮ ਦੀ ਸੁਹਿਰਦਤਾ ਅਤੇ ਕਰੋਨਾ ਖਿਲਾਫ ਜੰਗ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੂਰਨ ਯੋਗਦਾਨ ਦੀ ਮਿਸਾਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ ਵਿੱਚ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਹੀ ਕਾਇਮ ਹੈ। ਭਵਿਖ ਵਿੱਚ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਰਬੱਤ ਦੇ ਭਲੇ ਅਤੇ ਬਿਮਾਰੀ ਤੋਂ ਬਚਾਅ ਲਈ ਕੁਝ ਸੁਝਾ ਵੀ ਇਸ ਖਰੜੇ’ਚ ਦਿਤੇ ਗਏ ਹਨ।

ਸਰਕਾਰ ਅਤੇ ਹੋਰ ਸਬੰਧਤ ਮਹਿਕਮਿਆਂ ਤੋਂ ਉਮੀਦ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ. ਦੇ ਖਰੜੇ ਤੇ ਗੌਰ ਕਰੇਗੀ ਅਤੇ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਦੇ ਸਮਾਜ’ਚ ਬਹੁ-ਪੱਖੀ ਯੋਗਦਾਨ ਦਾ ਸਤਿਕਾਰ ਕਰੇਗੀ।

Sikh Council will present guidance to Government and Key Stakeholders following Gurdwaras Webinar.

In the United Kingdom, the Government made a decision to instruct places of worship to close for public worship on the 25th of March 2020. Many Gurdwaras closed prior to this but most ceased public access to worship almost immediately at this point. Presently, there is total compliance to the government strategy.

The continued closing of places of worship poses serious mental, social and continuity risks to society. Religiosity as a positive occupation for elderly people has been recognised by many studies. But for Sikhs, the spiritual toll of not being able to collectively worship, directly impacts their spiritual well being and growth. This spiritual detriment supersedes all other impacts of lockdown for many Sikhs.

Sikh Council UK consulted a sample of Gurdwaras, representing every region of England and Wales (https://sikhcouncil.co.uk/gurdwarawebinar/). This included Gurdwaras that served medium and large congregations. This consultation identified both their common and specific concerns during COVID 19 and highlighted a number of good practises and strategies for reopening. Major Gurdwaras from Southall, Leicester, Gravesend, Cardiff, London and Birmingham participated in this consulation.

This document explores the roadmap to reopening Gurdwaras in a managed and safe way once the government makes an announcement for the reopening of places of worship. Sikh Council UK will be presenting this guidance to Government and key stakeholders.

We will be sharing the Guidance: ‘Achieving safely managed reopening for Gurdwaras’ early next week.

ਕਰੋਨਾ ਵਾਇਰਸ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰ-ਅਸਥਾਨਾ ਅਤੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਭਾਈਚਾਰੇ ਨਾਲ ਜੋੜਨ ਵਾਲੇ ਮੀਡੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਕੁਝ’ਕ ਸ਼ਰਾਰਤੀ ਅਨਸਰਾ ਨੂੰ ਸਿਖ ਕੋਂਸਲ ਯੂ.ਕੇ. ਵਲੋ ਸਖਤ ਚੇਤਾਵਨੀ

2/5/20 Sukhjeevan Singh, Spokesperson SCUK

ਕਰੋਨਾ ਵਾਇਰਸ ਦੀ ਮਹਾਮਾਰੀ ਵੀ ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਦੇ ਭਾਣੇ ਦਾ ਇਕ ਹਿੱਸਾ ਹੈ।ਅਵਸੋਸ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਸਮੁਚੀ ਮਨੁਖਤਾ ਤੇ ਆਏ ਇਸ ਸੰਕਟ ਦੇ ਸਮੇ ਮੀਡੀਆ ਦੇ ਕੁਝ ਸ਼ਰਾਰਤੀ ਅਨਸਰਾ ਵਲੋਂ ਲਗਾਤਾਰ ਸਿਖ ਭਾਈਚਾਰੇ ਤੇ ਨਿਸ਼ਾਨਾ ਸਾਧਿਆ ਜਾ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ।ਇਸ ਤਰਾਂ ਦੀ ਗੈਰ-ਜ਼ਿਮੇਵਾਰ ਪਤਰਾਕਾਰੀ ਸਮਾਜ ਵਿੱਚ ਨਾਸਤਕਤਾ, ਨਫਰਤ ਅਤੇ ਖੌਫ ਫੈਲੌਣ ਤੋਂ ਇਲਾਵਾ ਕਿਸੇ ਵੀ ਤਰਾਂ ਲਾਭਵੰਦ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੈ।ਕਿਸੇ ਵੀ ਬਿਮਾਰੀ ਦੇ ਮਰੀਜ਼ ਨੂੰ ਧਰਮ ਦੇ ਅਧਾਰ ਤੇ ਸੁਰਖੀਆ’ਚ ਉਭਾਰਿਆ ਜਾਣਾ ਇਨਸਾਨੀ ਕਦਰਾ-ਕੀਮਤਾ ਤੋ ਦੂਰ ਹੈ।

ਮਹਾਮਾਰੀ ਦੌਰਾਨ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਮੀਡਿਆ ਵਿੱਚ ਘਟ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਕੌਮਾ ਨੂੰ ਬਦਾਮ ਕਰਨ ਦੀ ਮੁਹਿਮ ਵਿੱਚ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ਭਾਈਚਾਰੇ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਹੁਣ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਵੀ ਲਿਆ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ।

ਪਿਛਲੇ ਦਿਨਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਆਏ ਐਨ.ਆਰ.ਆਈ ਵੀਰਾ/ਭੈਣਾ ਨੂੰ ਇਸ ਬਿਮਾਰੀ ਦਾ ਕਾਰਣ ਦੱਸਣਾ, ਹੋਲੇ ਮਹੱਲੇ ਤੇ ਅਨੰਦਪੁਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਪਹੁੰਚੀਆ ਸੰਗਤਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਦੋਸ਼ੀ ਠਹਿਰਾਉਣਾ ਅਤੇ ਅੱਜ ਕੱਲ ਤਖਤ ਸਚਖੰਡ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਹਜ਼ੂਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਤੋ ਵਾਪਿਸ ਆਏ ਯਾਤਰੂਆਂ ਬਾਰੇ ਫਜ਼ੂਲ ਦੀ ਚਰਚਾ ਕਰਨ ਦੀ ਸਿਖ ਕੌਂਸਲ ਸਖਤ ਨਿਖੇਦੀ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੈ।ਕਰੋਨਾ ਵਾਇਰਸ ਨੂੰ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਖਿਲਾਫ ਗਲਤ ਰੰਗਤ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਮੀਡੀਆ ਤੇ ਅੰਤਰ-ਰਾਸ਼ਟਰੀ ਸਿਖ ਸੰਸਥਾਵਾਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਕਾਰਵਾਈ ਵੀ ਕੀਤੀ ਜਾ ਸਕਦੀ ਹੈ।

ਸਿਖ ਜਿੱਥੇ ਰੋਜ਼ਾਨਾ ਸਰਬਤ ਦੇ ਭਲੇ ਦੀ ਅਰਦਾਸ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੈ ਉਥੇ ਭਰੋਸਾ ਦਾਨ ਵੀ ਮੰਗਦਾ ਹੈ।ਮੀਡਿਆ ਦੇ ਕੁਝ ਅਨਸਰਾ ਦੇ ਯਤਨਾ ਬਾਵਜੂਦ ਅੱਜ ਵੀ ਸਿੱਖਾ ਦਾ ਗੁਰ-ਅਸਥਾਨਾਂ ਪ੍ਰਤੀ ਭਰੋਸਾ ਅਤੇ ਸਤਿਕਾਰ ਅਡੋਲ ਹੈ।

ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਦਰਸਾਉਂਦੀ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਦੁਖ (ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾ ਵਿੱਚ ਕਰੋਨਾ ਵਰਗੇ ਤਨ ਦੇ ਰੋਗ ਵੀ ਸ਼ਾਮਿਲ ਹਨ) ਅਸਲ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਾਡੇ ਲਈ ਦਵਾਈ ਬਣ ਸਕਦੇ ਹਨ (ਜੇਕਰ ਅਸੀਂ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਦੇ ਧਾਰਨੀ ਬਣੀਏ) ਅਤੇ ਕਈ ਵਾਰ (ਰੱਬ ਨੂੰ ਭੁਲਾ ਕਰਕੇ) ਸੁਖ ਵੀ ਰੋਗ ਬਣ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ। ਇਸ ਕਰਕੇ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਦੀ ਰੋਸ਼ਨੀ ਹੀ ਮਨੁਖਤਾ ਨੂੰ ਇਸ ਮਹਾਮਾਰੀ ਨਾਲ ਜੂਝਨ ਦੀ ਮਾਨਸਕ ਸ਼ਕਤੀ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਕਰਦੀ ਹੈ।ਖਾਲਸਾ ਪੰਥ ਕਿਸੇ ਵੀ ਤਰਾਂ ਮੌਤ ਜਾਂ ਬਿਮਾਰੀ ਤੋਂ ਭੈ-ਭੀਤ ਨਾਂ ਹੋਇਆ ਨਾਂ ਹੋਵੇਗਾ।

ਨੋਟ: ਮੀਡਿਆ ਵਾਲੇ ਬਹੁਤ ਸਾਰੇ ਵੀਰ/ਭੈਣਾ ਮਹਾਮਾਰੀ ਤੋਂ ਜਨਤਾ ਦੀ ਸੁਰਖਿਆ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਬਹੁਤ ਚੰਗੇ ਕੰਮ ਵੀ ਕਰ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ। ਅਸੀਂ ਅਜ਼ਾਦ, ਸੁਹਿਰਦ ਮੀਡਿਆ ਦੇ ਧੰਨਵਾਦੀ ਅਤੇ ਕਦਰਦਾਨ ਹਮੇਸ਼ਾ ਹੀ ਹਾਂ।

Sikh Council UK warns against fringe media elements who are using Corona Virus to target the Sikh Community

As Sikhs, we believe Corona Virus is part of the divine will of Akal Purakh Vaheguru – we must all work through this difficult time collectively and selflessly. Unfortunately, it has come to light that some Indian media outlets have continuously targeted and maligned the Sikh Community.  This sort of irresponsible journalism provides no benefit to society and only nurtures hatred, prejudice and fear. No victim of disease should ever be highlighted in the media on the basis of their faith – this is unethical.

Minorities in India such as the Muslim Community have faced similar negativity during the Corona Virus pandemic and now Sikhs are also being targeted:

In the last few days, devotees returning from Takth Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib (Nanded, Maharashtra) have been highlighted by the media as being Corona Virus positive after being non-symptomatic in Nanded for over a month.  This follows NRIS visiting Punjab from abroad being blamed for bringing Corona Virus into the state and attempts to scaremonger the public through targeting sangat attending Holla Mahalla celebrations at Sri Anandpur Sahib or maligning food-aid provided through langar.

Sikhs are known to pray daily for the betterment of humanity in their Ardhaas but Sikhs also include a supplication for steadfast faith. Despite efforts by some elements of the media, Sikhs remain faithful and reverent towards their historical shrines.

Gurbani teaches us that sorrows (including diseases like Corona Virus) can heal our minds if we find solace in Gurmat. Therefore, it is faith and Gurbani that can provide humankind the mental strength to combat the global pandemic. The Khalsa Panth is not fearful of death or disease.

Sikh Council UK condemns this type of reporting as it unfairly targets the Sikh Community. International Sikh organisations will take action against media outlets pursuing stories using Corona Virus to portray the Sikh community negatively.

Note: We are fully supportive of free and ethical media and express gratitude towards all key-worker media personnel informing the public during this global pandemic.

 

Last week, the Government announced testing was available to all essential workers in England and members of their households who have symptoms of Coronavirus:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

We would like to highlight that the list of essential workers includes: religious staff, charities and workers delivering frontline services, funeral industry workers, journalists and broadcasters covering coronavirus or providing public service broadcasting.

This means that our Granthis that uphold the daily maryada of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee in Gurdwaras around England can access testing if they are symptomatic of Coronavirus. We urge all Gurdwara Management Committees to support Granthis in accessing testing if they are unable to do so independently by using this link:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test

Alternatively, Granthis can ring the Sikh Council UK support-line: 0330 2300 100 and our volunteer team will assist this process.

This extension to testing capacity also benefits numerous volunteers and staff of Sikh charities involved in frontline services such as food aid, media personnel and funeral industry workers.

It is clear that testing, contact tracing, social isolation along with social distancing are the only current effective tools to reduce the spread of coronavirus and subsequent covid 19.

We pray that Akal Purakh Vaheguru protects and delivers the Panth and all of humanity this difficult time.

With thanks,

Sukhjeevan Singh Kandola

Spokesperson (Sikh Council UK)

07703325038

 

Sikh Council UK invited a selection of Gurdwaras across England and Wales to find out how Coronavirus is affecting their regional Gurdwaras.

The First National Gurdwaras Webinar was a successful representation of nearly all regions in England and Wales. Both large and small scale Gurdwara representatives participated and expressed a variety of common and diverse issues. This was a great opportunity to share experiences and good practise between Gurdwaras and has been described as ‘informative’ and ‘insightful’ by participants.

Sikh Council UK will continue to voice the needs of the Sikh Community to Government. We will shortly publish the findings of this initial consultation.

With over 300 Gurdwaras in the UK and around 200 Gurdwaras affiliated with SCUK we look to hold further regional consultations that more Gurdwaras would be able to participate in.

The Webinar was broadcasted live on Facebook and can still be viewed:

SCUK National Gurdwaras Webinar – COVID 19

SCUK National Gurdwaras Webinar – COVID 19

Posted by Sikh Council UK on Thursday, 30 April 2020

List of regional representatives:

  1. Watford –  S. Jagmohan Singh (Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Watford)
  2. Gravesend – S. Manpreet Singh Dhaliwal (Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, Gravesend)
  3. Gravesend – S. Jagdev Singh Virdee (Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, Gravesend)
  4. Newcastle – S. Tarsem Singh (Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Newcastle)
  5. Derby – S. Gurpreet Singh (Gurdwara Guru Arjan Dev Jee, Derby)
  6. Leicester – S.Mukhtiar Singh (Gurdwara Guru Tegh Bahadar Jee, Leicester)
  7. Bedford – S. Dalvir Singh (Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Bedford)
  8. Southall – S. Harmeet Singh (Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall)
  9. Coventry – S. Jatinder Singh (Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Smethwick, Birmingham)
  10. London – S. Birbahadur Singh Bance (Gurdwara Sikh Sangat, Bow, London)
  11. Bristol – S. Ravinder Singh Dhinsa (Siri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Bristol)
  12. Barking – S. Balvinder Singh Rayat (Singh Sabha London East)
  13. Willenhall – S. Mandip Singh (Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Willenhall)
  14. Wales – S. Isher Singh Garib (Gurdwara Bhat Sikh Council UK/ Cardiff)
  15. London Shepherds Bush – S. Gurpreet Singh Anand (Central Gurdwara, Khalsa Jatha London)

Sikh Council UK was represented by the following Office Bearers:

  1. S. Jatinder Singh (Secretary-General)
  2. S. Sukhvinder Singh (Administrative Secretary)
  3. S. Balbinder Singh Panesar (Treasurer)
  4. S. Sukhjeevan Singh (Spokesperson)

Sikh Council UK Hosts First National Gurdwaras Webinar Sikh Council UK Hosts First National Gurdwaras Webinar Sikh Council UK Hosts First National Gurdwaras Webinar

Sikh Council UK Hosts First National Gurdwaras Webinar      

NHS England and NHS Improvement responds to SCUK requests for appropriate PPE for Sikh Healthcare Professionals

Please see our letter to NHS CEO Sir S. Stevens regarding suitable PPE for Sikh Healthcare Professionals from Secretary General Jatinder Singh:

Letter to CEO NHS England Sir S.Stevens 3-4-2020

NHS England responds to SCUK requests for appropriate PPE for Sikh Healthcare Staff

And response from from NHS England and NHS Improvement National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis:

Response from National Medical Director 29-4-20 NHS England responds to SCUK requests for appropriate PPE for Sikh Healthcare Staff

 

On behalf of a membership organisation:

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.

An urgent appeal on behalf of a distressed family in Romford (East London) that is desperately searching for Arwinder Singh who has been missing since 9th April 2020.

The family are very concerned about Arwinder, particularly as he suffers from depression and is bi-polar but does not have access to his medication.

A humble benti to all Gurdwaras within the Greater London area to urgently publicise the search campaign on their various social media and noticeboard platforms.

We hope this will encourage people to come forward with any information regarding Arwinder and his whereabouts. Please share the attached poster which contains all the relevant details and contact information.

Let’s all stand by this distressed family at this difficult and ensure it is safely reunited as soon as possible.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Sadh Sangat Jee,

Vaheguru Jee Ka Khalsa.

Vaheguru Jee Kee Fateh.

This year, we will celebrate Vaisakhi with the same faith and fervour as always. But, Vaisakhi this year will not be as usual.

Sikh Council UK recognises the difficulty that the sangat is facing.  All Nagar Kirtans, Divaans and Samagams have been postponed until further notice.

Vaisakhi commemorates the most significant transformation of Sikhi since it’s inception – The creation of the Khalsa at Sri Anandpur Sahib, 1699 A.D.

As Sikhs, we believe our tenth Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee blessed the world with the pinnacle of human capability in the form of the Khalsa.

We’re sure every Sikh around the world is thinking about ways to celebrate Vaisakhi in the current circumstance. Many are actively engaged in voluntary work around the globe showcasing the teachings of Sikhi in a practical way.

Several creative initiatives have been circulating in the sangat, including raising handcrafted Nishaan Sahibs outside houses or adorning orange Dastaars/Chunnis (head-coverings) during our daily exercise. Many educational organisations are holding virtual divaans (services) throughout the day, and our media outlets will be live streaming special broadcasts from the Takths and Gurdwaras around the world.

We’ve been looking at our rich and vibrant history of the Khalsa to explore the diverse teachings of Vaisakhi:

  1. Preceding the Vaisakhi of 1721, Bhai Mani Singh Jee, the Head Granthi of Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar, resolved the divide between the Bandai Sikhs and the Tat Khalsa through the Guru’s divine grace and unified the Panth.
  2. During the Sarbat Khalsa of Vaisakhi 1748, Nawab Kapur Singh Jee appointed Sardar Jassa Singh Alhuwalia as the Jathedar (leader) of the Dal Khalsa. Under his strong leadership, the Khalsa was able to achieve many victories. Through the formation of the Dal Khalsa, the two battalions of the Buddha Dal (elders) and Taruna Dal (youth) were able to utilise and direct the energy of the Panth. This ensured continuity of skills in the Panth.
  3. In 1763, the Khalsa was celebrating Vaisakhi at Sri Amritsar Sahib after a series of victories including the liberation of Lahore. A Hindu Brahmin came and pleaded to the Khalsa that the Mughal Governor in Kasur had abducted his daughter. Many Sikh leaders rose to the opportunity, but some were apprehensive due to the risks involved in pursuing another military campaign. History records, the Khalsa performed an Ardhaas, and the decision was reached through the Mukhvaak of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The campaign was victorious. This shows our success is rooted in the sanctuary of Gur-Shabad (Guru’s Scripture).

Currently, while the nation is in lockdown, unity, leadership and continuity are needed more than ever. As Sikhs, our greatest strength lies in the sanctuary of Gur-shabad.

In our past, we have been unable to congregate and celebrate as usual due to oppressive and tyrannous enemies. But, when circumstances became better, we were motivated to come together as a Panth. Humanity is facing an invisible enemy. Together, through the will of Vaheguru, we will emerge from this period valuing things that we may have taken for granted in the past, for example, darshan of Guru-Ghars, Sangat and Amrit.

Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee created a ‘free nation’ in the form of the Khalsa Panth. Even if a Sikh is confined – he or she should remain free in mind and spirit. We should take inspiration from our Sikh political prisoners around the world who feel the Guru’s presence even in incarceration.

Sikh Council UK has been busily engaged in co-ordinating our emergency aid efforts in the UK through our newly launched support line. As the largest representative platform for Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations in the nation we ask the sangat for their ongoing support and guidance. Please stay updated through our website www.sikhcouncil.co.uk on guidance and protocols for the community during COVID 19.

-END-

Sukhjeevan Singh Kandola                                        

(Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK)
07703325038
info@sikhcouncil.co.uk

Email info@sikhcouncil.co.uk or Whatsapp 07703325038 to share your experiences of being stranded on our social media.

Sunday, 5th April 2020

Still no flights from Amritsar – Sikh Council UK ‘disheartened’ by FCO’s latest announcement.

Sikh Council UK wrote to the Rt. Honourable Dominic Raab MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the 31st March 2020 urging him to bring back British Nationals stranded in India, especially Punjab due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Secretary General Jatinder Singh made particular reference to the ground reality of the situation:

These British nationals are being put at risk due to the lockdown, stigmatisation and poor health facilities in India. There are also equally-worrying reports of British nationals in these countries facing local hostility.’

Today, the Acting High Commissioner to India, Jan Thompson made announcements for first charter flights from India from Mumbai, Goa and Delhi. We hope all passengers stranded in these areas arrive safely to their homes in the United Kingdom.

We appreciate the complexities and difficulties that the FCO is faced with. However, given that thousands of British Nationals are stranded in Punjab, and there are restrictions on inter-state travel in India we are alarmed no provisions have yet been announced for charter flights from Amritsar.

The reason that many elderly and vulnerable Sikh and Punjabi travelers choose Sri Guru Ram Dass International Airport, Amritsar as their port of arrival is because they are unable to endure the eight-hour car journey from Delhi to Punjab without further negatively impacting their health. This is why the FCO’s announcement this morning lead to disappointment amongst Sikhs in the UK who anxiously await loved ones.

The FCO should also take into account that travellers (especially elderly and vulnerable) may have exhausted their financial resources during these difficult circumstances. Therefore it may not be possible for them to purchase nearly full-priced tickets on charter flights while refunds/reimbursements are still being processed by their original airlines. We suggest concessionary rates are applied for stranded travellers.

We urge the Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Office to prioritise the repatriation of Sikh/Punjabi British Nationals stranded in Punjab from SGRD International Airport, Amritsar (ATQ). Further delay could cause health issues, including the risks to life for the elderly and vulnerable.

 

-END-

 

Sukhjeevan Singh Kandola                                                                                    

(Spokesperson, Sikh Council UK)
07703325038
info@sikhcouncil.co.uk