OVER 200 Sikh police personnel held thanksgiving prayers at the Gurdwara Sahib Police, Ipoh recently in conjunction with the Police Day celebrations.
This year marks the 210th year of the formation of the Royal Malaysian Police, and the congregation was led by Kuala Lumpur police Chief Comm Datuk Amar Singh.
Gurdwara Sahib Police President Inspector Mukhtiar Singh said the event was celebrated annually at the Gurdwara Sahib Pulapol, Kuala Lumpur.
He said this was the first time the two-day event was held at the gurdwara in Ipoh.
Insp Mukhtiar added that besides the thanksgiving prayers, the two-day event also included a photoshoot at the iconic Ipoh railway station, high tea and dinner.
“An exhibition was also put up to showcase old photographs of the Sikhs in the force, especially those attached to the Perak contingent,” he told MetroPerak.
Insp Mukhtiar said civilians had been shying away from entering or organising events at the gurdwara, because the only entrance was through the Ipoh police district headquarters.
He said many found that going through a checkpoint and handing over documents was burdensome.
“I hope the management of the district police will allow the side entrance to be opened especially during functions held at the gurdwara for easier access,” he said.
Comm Amar added there were 271 Sikhs in the force nationwide, including Sikh policewomen.
“Prior to this, the annual event has been held at the Pulapol Gurdwara, but this year we decided to hold one up north.
“The two-day event is a good period for bonding among the Sikhs in the force,” he added.
Comm Amar said it was a walk down memory lane for him, since he was born and bred in Ipoh.
“My first posting in 1984 as a cadet ASP was also in Ipoh, and subsequently after that I was transferred to many other states before holding on to my current position,” he added.
Comm Amar said it would be good to rotate the thanksgiving prayers at the five Sikh police gurdwaras in the county.
Besides Pulapol and the police gurdwara in Ipoh, the other three are the High Street and Parliament gurdwaras in Kuala Lumpur, and one in Penang.
Reminiscing about the history of the gurdwara in Ipoh, Mukhtiar said it was the first Sikh gurdwara to be constructed in Ipoh.
He said a few Sikh families who worked as dairy farmers in Ipoh established the gurdwara in the 1880s.
“A few years later, the current Ipoh police station was built near the gurdwara, and subsequently the land around the gurdwara came to be within the compound of the police station.
“By 1902, there were about 60 Sikh police personnel serving in Ipoh, and it was a matter of time before the gurdwara’s management was taken over by these Sikh police personnel,” he added.
Since 1910, the gurdwara had been under the management of the Sikh police, and the old building was demolished in 1967 to make way for a new building.