National Homeland Security Knowledgebase Affordable Dental Care from

Monday, January 16, 2006

Police say dispute at Sikh temple remained peaceful

City may charge temple for police overtime if calls persist

by Emily Canning-Dean

Bedford Times Register Reporter

Bedford Ñ Police say that although previous arguments between members of the Guru Gobind Singh Sikh temple on Tarbell Avenue erupted into fighting, a dispute that occurred at the temple on New Year’s Day did not result in violence.

Police Chief Greg Duber said someone at the temple called police to settle a disagreement between temple members during an evening service. Although both sides traded words, he said, no fighting took place, and the service resumed after police arrived.

“We didn’t make any arrests,” Duber said. “We were just there to keep the peace.”

Police have been called to temple services several times since late 2004. During reported disturbances at the temple in 2005, members reported being struck on the head and having cameras and other items stolen from them according to police.

Several arrests were made during one incident in September, and one member of the temple was convicted of unauthorized use of equipment over the stolen camera, police said.

City Manager Bob Reid said Monday the city will start charging the temple for police overtime when police are called to keep the peace.

He said Council passed an ordinance a few months ago that allows the city to charge for police overtime if police are called to the same address for a public disturbance more than twice.

“We’ve already spent about 16 hours in overtime at the temple and the cost is roughly $700,” Reid said. “It’s just something we have to do with our tight budget. We have to watch every nickel.”

The ongoing dispute, police have said, began in 2004 over membership issues within the temple.

According to previous Bedford Times-Register article, one group of members accused the temple leadership of unfairly restricting membership and wanted to elect a new five-member executive committee to replace a group the leadership had elected. However, temple leaders said only founding members of the temple can vote to form an executive committee.

There are about 25 temple members in the leadership group and at least 300 in the group opposing the leadership, according to Azaad Khaira, a member of the larger group.

Taking it to the courts

In early 2005, the leadership group filed a complaint in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court asking the court to uphold the temple’s constitution, which allows only the founding temple members to vote, said Gursharan Gill, a member of the leadership group.

In September, Judge Richard McMonagle called the constitution “invalid” and ruled that “all members of the temple are given the status of founding members and are eligible to vote for executive committee members.”

The leadership group filed an appeal of McMonagle’s ruling in September with the District 8 Court of Appeals. No hearings have been scheduled.

Khaira said in light of the judge’s ruling, members held an election at the temple Dec. 18 to form the new executive committee.

According to Khaira, the new elected officials are now carrying out their duties and have replaced the group elected by the leadership.

Gill disagrees. He said he does not believe the executive committee can take action until the court appeal process is finished.

“We will abide by the [appeal] decision, whatever it is,” he said.


Phone: 440-232-4055 ext. 4110
Bedford Ohio Blog Homepage-


Post a Comment

<< Home