As screaming concert-goers fled the Manchester Arena in northern England after the suicide attack at US pop star Ariana Grande’s concert on Monday night, the people of Manchester stood united in a show of solidarity. The Sikh from the city and nearby areas fanned out to help.
The explosion in the foyer area of Manchester Arena– biggest indoor venue in the city — left 22 dead and 59 injured.
“If some Sikhs offered free taxi rides, others took concert-goers to gurdwaras to shelter them and offer community meals (langar),” said Sun Kaur of Sikh NGO United Sikhs while talking to TOI over phone from Manchester on Tuesday.
She said Gurdwara Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib, Dasmesh Sikh Temple, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara Educational and Cultural Centre and Central Gurdwara Manchester remained open through the night.
Condemning the terror attack, Sun Kaur said, “We admire the solidarity shown by Mancunians (people and anything associated with Manchester).” She said a local Sikh taxi driver A J Singh came out to give free taxi rides to the concert-goers and their worried kin.
In a video which went viral on social media, Singh says, “I tried and helped out wherever I could. I took some who were looking for their loved ones to the hospital. They had no money and were stranded as the roads were closed. We stick together when it counts.”
Kaur said Sikhs would be taking part in a candle-light vigil in Albert Square on Tuesday evening to pay tributes to the victims lost and to console their families. They would also be there to offer tea and refreshments to the people.
Amrik Singh of Sikh Federation (UK) said that Sikhs living and working in Manchester came out to aid those caught in the attack. “Sikh taxi drivers drove people away from the danger and gurdwaras opened their doors,” he said. “The lives of 22, including children have been horrifically cut short by this evil act of terror. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured in this attack,” he said.