A group of 20-30 men, believed to be carrying “bladed weapons”, occupied a Sikh temple in the UK today, apparently opposing a mixed marriage between a Sikh and a non-Sikh.
Warwickshire Police said about 20 or 30 men entered the Gurudwara Sahib in Leamington Spa, earlier this morning and occupied the Sikh temple.
Jatinder Singh Birdi, a former treasurer at the temple, said a marriage between a Sikh and non-Sikh couple was due to take place at the Gurudwara, the BBC reported.
Police officers are currently inside the temple on Tachbrook Drive negotiating with the group, it said.
A force spokesman said the occupation by the men was being treated as “an aggravated trespass” from “the escalation of a local dispute” and was not a terror incident.
Police have cordoned off the area while officers and religious leaders try to end the stand-off.
Birdi said mixed marriages has been a contentious issue in the local Sikh community, with a minority opposing using the temple for such services.
“There have been tensions that have been going on for a couple of years with some people objecting to mixed marriages in taking place in the Gurudwara,” Birdi was quoted as saying by the report.
“The general consensus is people are respectful of mixed marriages if the traditions are respected. Nothing has happened on this level before.
“This is meant to be one of the happiest moments of somebody’s life – it shows a lack of respect,” he added.