Petition update

What happened on 1st July 2016, when the video was made?

Guru Nanak Gurudwara (Leics) Sangat

Aug 2, 2016 — What happened before the video was filmed?

On Friday 1st July 2016 around 8pm, a sober White homeless woman entered the Gurudwara. She was not rude in any way and politely asked for some food. She was eligible for langar that evening, provided Joginder had told her to cover her head and take her shoes off, when she first approached him. However, Joginder refused to serve her altogether and told her to go away. He should have observed that she is sober, after which he should have told her to cover her head and take her shoes off. He didn’t do this because he had no intention of serving her, even if she had readily agreed.

After Joginder refused to serve her, he left the kitchen area, following which a Sikh woman who had witnessed his rude behavior called the White woman and happily filled her empty plastic box with langar. Whilst she was doing this, Joginder returned and told the Sikh woman to stop, but she didn’t, as she was visibly disgusted by his suggestion.

If you’re thinking ‘Why did the Sikh woman serve her, when her head wasn’t covered and shoes were still on?’ The Sikh woman had just witnessed Joginder rudely refusing to serve her, before he left the kitchen. She knew this was out of order and quickly called the White woman to fill her container before Joginder returned. She thought that if that rude man returns, he won’t let me do it.

She was right, when Joginder saw her filling the plastic box, he raced back and told her to stop, but she ignored him. She served the White woman out of her ‘seva bhavna’ (spirit of service), as her family had taken the Akhand Paath and langar seva that weekend. Had she not feared Joginder’s intervention, she would have told the sober White woman to cover her head and take her shoes off, as any Sikh rightly would have.

Given that the homeless White woman had been served and Joginder didn’t get his way, he became angry and insulted her by calling her a “dirty woman” to which she responded with humility, by stating “I’m dirty because I live on the streets”. Joginder had no reason to stand there and insult her, when the Sikh woman had already served her. Why would any langaria do such a thing?

Subsequently, just before leaving, the White woman said “I respect this place because you feed everyone, why are you treating me like this?” to which Joginder quickly responded, “I don’t respect you”, which further distressed the homeless woman. The White woman clearly wasn’t drunk or intoxicated on that occasion, as she was able to communicate coherently, albeit a bit emotionally because of Joginder disrespecting her.

It’s at this point that the video recording starts:

What happens during the video?
0 – 0.45 seconds: The homeless White woman states that Joginder said he doesn’t respect her (and homeless people in general as she used the term “us”). She states that Joginder wasn’t even going to feed her (again she says “us”, possibly because she intended to share the food in the plastic box with other homeless people). When asked “Why?” she says that she feels unwelcome at the Gurudwara.

0.45 seconds: The homeless White woman identifies Joginder as having said and done all of the above by pointing at him.

0.46 – 1:04 seconds: Joginder panics as he has been caught out by the person filming the incident and he quickly switches the lights off, closes the kitchen door and lowers the shutters, lying that it’s time to close and clean up, despite the fact that its only 8:10pm and the langar hall doesn’t close until 8:45pm-9pm.

Even if it was closing time, who abruptly cleans the kitchen area in the dark, with all doors closed, lights off and shutters down? As it isn’t closing time, a sangat member tells him to put the lights back on, which he reluctantly does. If you listen carefully, you can hear instruments being played in the background, as the final ceremony (samapti) is taking place. No Gurudwara closes its kitchen at the exact time of samapti, as some people prefer to eat after samapti.

Joginder lied about it being closing time. Why lie, if you’ve done nothing wrong? Other Sikh sangat members in the kitchen are also aware that a video is being made, why don’t they rush to switch off lights, lower shutters, close doors and lie about it being closing time? They don’t do that because unlike Joginder they have nothing to fear.

Unlike Joginder, they haven’t refused langar to an eligible Non-Sikh, who simply had to cover her head and take her shoes off, had someone told her. Unlike Joginder, they didn’t call the homeless White woman a “dirty woman”. Unlike Joginder, they didn’t tell her that they don’t respect her, which made her cry. Other sangat members have nothing to hide; hence they don’t try to switch off lights to hide their faces and to interrupt/stop the recording.

0.50 seconds: When Joginder switches the lights off and lowers the shutters, the White woman says, “Does he want me to kick off?” Please keep in mind that this is a homeless woman who lives on the streets (she told the person recording the video, just after he stopped filming). She probably encounters hostile people from time to time because of her life circumstances.

A man has just told her that she’s a “dirty woman”. This man has been rude to her and as she’s expressing her feelings about being mistreated and feeling “unwelcome”, the same man suddenly switches off the lights, closes the kitchen door and brings the shutters down behind her.

Given the disturbed state of mind that she’s in, considering she’s homeless and because she’s surrounded by people she doesn’t know (and there’s somebody filming this for some reason – she doesn’t know about the online petition), would you say she’s wrong to think that maybe she’d upset Joginder and that he was now about to physically attack her or something like that, after he switches off the lights and brings the shutters down?

She doesn’t say lets kick off at the point of him calling her a “Dirty Woman”. Instead, she had replied to that by saying “I’m dirty because I live on the streets”. Is that the position of someone who had entered the Gurudwara to kick off? Also, after everything that has happened, she emotionally says, “I respect this place!” (1.45 seconds). Any reasonable person would conclude by what she says and her body language that she didn’t enter the Gurudwara to kick off. She only made that statement at a point when lights switched off and shutters came down, as she most likely felt intimidated and threatened because she was alone. It was a defensive statement of a poor woman who sleeps rough.

1:07 seconds: When the person recording the incident asks Joginder about why he didn’t serve the White woman, why didn’t he say “I didn’t serve her because she has been the “subject of prior warnings” and she is no longer allowed the privilege of langar”, if this were the genuine reason for not serving her (as claimed by the committee in their statement last week)?

Instead, Joginder clearly says, “Meat walla box-a lay firdi a, ki kariye?” which loosely translated means “She’s carrying a meat box, what to do?” The box in question can be seen on the kitchen’s metal shelf around 1 minute and 10 seconds into the video. It’s an empty transparent plastic box, which is full of langar food (topped to the brim with daal and roti). The Sikh woman filled this earlier.

How could an empty transparent plastic box have been a “meat walla box”? Can the committee explain this? Surely, they’ve asked Joginder to clarify this to them. If it was a cardboard box that had “Southern Fried Chicken” printed on the side of it, you could possibly say that. But you can’t call a see-through plastic box “meat walla”. Of all the things that Joginder could have said, “meat walla box” is the most implausible answer that he could have given.

Plus, why did the Sikh woman fill a “meat walla box”? If she had seen Chicken/Lamb bones etc in an empty transparent box, certainly and rightly she’d have declined to serve the White woman. She didn’t decline because it was an empty transparent plastic box! Why did Joginder lie? Why would anyone lie under those circumstances? It would be unnatural to lie. A lie would have to be invented. The truth would automatically roll off one’s tongue. But how could Joginder tell the truth about why he refused to serve her? (He’s racist).

1:26 seconds: Joginder hides in the kitchen storage room, as he knows that he has been caught out and he has no answers. Everyone except Joginder knows the answer to the question, “Is it your langar, or Guru’s langar?”

1:35 seconds: The homeless White woman thanks the person making the video for standing up for her. Is this how a person should be made to feel at a Gurudwara? Would a drunk have bothered to say “Thank you”, after being mistreated by Joginder?

1:46 seconds: It’s reasonable to conclude that she wasn’t a troublemaker because after everything that happened, her final words in the video were “I respect this place!” A drunken troublemaker wouldn’t likely have made such a positive statement, after being insulted by Joginder. You can tell that she’s sober.

The committee’s recent ambiguous statement is completely contradicted by Joginder’s clear words AT the time of the incident. Who do we believe?

Guru Nanak Gurudwara (Leicester) Sangat

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