Belgian police detects 25 illegal Sikh migrants

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Brussels: In an unusual event, 25 Sikh migrants were discovered in a secret compartment of a Romanian truck by the Belgian police, the media reported on Thursday.

The police made the discovery in the Belgian town of Essen close to the border with the Netherlands.

The migrants were aged between 2 and 88 and were said to be Sikhs, the media said.

Police stopped the Romanian truck following a tip-off.

An official was quoted as saying: “Behind a whole load of onions in the hold we discovered a self-made cage. The cage was no bigger than 4 square metres but contained 25 people of Sikh origin, all squashed together.”

“The people could be freed from this hazardous condition and were taken care of by civil protection officers.”

The two Romanian drivers were detained.

Sikhs are a minority community in Belgium but have played a role in Belgian history including the World War I.

The first Sikhs in Belgium were generally male laborers having limited education. Sikhs were accustomed to working in agriculture and, therefore, looked for work in that sector. They found seasonal jobs.

It is said that Sikhs later immigrated for economic reasons since they needed to get out of the impoverished regions of the Punjab and thus came looking for a better life in Belgium.

There are approximately 10,000 Sikhs in Belgium. (IANS)