“I am grateful for the level of bravery these women"
A Sikh priest has been arrested and charged with a string of historical sex offences.
Seventy-year-old Makhan Singh Mauji is a travelling Granthi who sometimes led Sikh worship ceremonies in Milton Keynes.
He has been charged with 14 counts of sexual assaults on women between July 1983 and August 1987.
Police say the alleged offences happened at a number of places including at a Gurdwara in Hitchin.
Mauji is from Northampton but had links to a number of Gurdwaras including ones in Northampton, Bedford and Milton Keynes.
The MK Gurdwara is in Leadenhall and is the focus of a thriving Sikh community in the city.
A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Constabulary said:
“Singh Mauji was a travelling Granthi, a ceremonial religious individual, whose role was to read the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the holy book in Sikhism in Gurdwaras.
“Gurdwaras are the meeting places for people of the Sikh faith to assemble and worship.
“Mr Mauji also has had links to a number of other Gurdwaras including in Northampton, Bedford and Milton Keynes.”
Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins, of Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Major Crime Unit, said:
“I am grateful for the level of bravery these women have shown when reporting these incidents.
“If you want to report anything relating to this case, please do so via the Major Incident Portal or by scanning the QR code.
“Anyone wishing to report a sexual assault will always be treated sensitively and with respect by us.
“We recognise how difficult it must be but please be assured we have specially trained officers who can help you every step of the way.
“You can report crime online, speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via our online web chat or call the non-emergency number 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.
“Alternatively, you can stay 100% anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form.”
A Granthi is a priest. They are held in the same esteem as a vicar, priest or imam.
The word ‘Granthi’ is derived from someone who reads the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scriptures and performs religious ceremonies.
In communities, they are respected and trusted individuals.
This case shows how Makhan Singh Mauji used his power, post and importance to sexually abuse women who most likely trusted him as a credible religious figure.
It’s likely this is not only the case of its kind and now with victims coming forward it is important that perpetrators who have committed such crimes are brought to justice. Especially, those in religious posts such as these.
If you have been affected by this story or know of anyone who has suffered or been a victim of similar crimes contact Hertfordshire Police.