Most of the gurdwara's roof collapsed and worshipers fear all but one of its eight holy books have been destroyed, the ‘Evening Standard’ newspaper said on Tuesday. Eye-witnesses described the suspected arsonist as being black or mixed-race. A worshiper said he had noticed racist graffiti on one of the gurdwara's outer walls in the past few weeks.
A criminal investigation has been launched and police and fire investigators are treating the blaze as suspicious. The building, which dates back to 1854 was formerly a synagogue and before that a chapel. The London Fire Brigade confirmed that 75 per cent of the building and the roof had been damaged by the fire.
"Police are treating this incident as suspicious," a Metropolitan police spokesman was quoted as saying by the British daily.
More than 50 firefighters battled the flame for almost eight hours after being called just after 2 p.m. yesterday, the report said.