Separatist Protesters Assault Indian Sikh Leader for Second Time Within a Week in U.S.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Manjit Singh GK was attacked by a group of Khalistan supporters outside a gurdwara in Yuba City of California.
Indian political leader Manjit Singh GK was attacked by a group of Khalistan supporters outside a gurdwara in Yuba City of California on Aug. 25. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and his family were also attacked in New York on Aug. 20, making this the second incident within a week where he has been targeted by Sikh separatists in the United States, PTI reported.
Three people have been arrested by the police in connection with the recent attack, the report said.
Singh told the news agency over phone from the United States that a group of 30-35 people attacked him when he was visiting the gurdwara in Yuba City to offer prayers. The people were supporters of the “Khalistan 2020 referendum,” he said.
People who are demanding Khalistan can continue their fight but violence is not the way, he added. “We will not be part of this fight for Khalistan,” Singh told the news agency.
“I am hurt. They pushed me and kicked me brutally. It was a brutal murderous attack,” the report quoted him as saying. He added that one of his associates got injured and was rushed to the hospital.
A video, tweeted by ANI, shows a group of people thrashing Singh to the floor and then kicking him. His face was also blackened by the attackers, the report added. His supporters are also seen in the video, trying to protecting him.
#WATCH: Akali Dal leader & Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee member Manjeet Singh GK attacked, face blackened outside a Gurdwara in California. 3 people have been arrested in connection with the attack. #USA (25.08.18) pic.twitter.com/HdhnlJn8zP
— ANI (@ANI) August 26, 2018
Singh is in America to hold discussions with the Sikh community about the 550th birthday anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak. The celebrations will take place next year.
Condemning the use of violence by Khalistan supporters, Singh, who is also the chief of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, said that he is not going to be scared by this attack and will never be the part of their fight for Khalistan.
The news of the latest attack on Singh was condemned by leaders in India as well as Sikh community groups in the United States.
India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took to Twitter to condemn the attack and said that Singh has made a huge contribution to the Sikh community.
Strongly condemn the attack on Sardar Manjit Singh GK in California. Manjit GK has made a huge contribution to the management and expansion of the Sikh religious, social and educational institutions.
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) August 26, 2018
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Cabinet Minister of Food Processing, termed it an attack on the “Turban” of the Sikhs by ISI agents. She also requested External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to take up the matter with the U.S. government.
The dastardly attack on S. Manjit Singh GK was not an attack on an individual but on the Dastar of a Sikh. It was an attack by agents of ISI on a party that is fighting the battle of justice for Sikhs. @SushmaSwaraj ji please take it up seriously with the US government
— Harsimrat Kaur Badal (@HarsimratBadal_) August 26, 2018
Sikhs For Justice, the pro-Khalistan group in the United States that has called for the “Khalistan referendum,” said that people have a right to protest against anyone but violence is not unacceptable.
The attack on @ManjitGK by Khalistan supporters in US is highly condemnable. You have every right to protest against anyone, but assaulting someone is unacceptable. This is nothing but hooliganism and a sign of intolerance which has no place in civilized society. @sikhsforjustice https://t.co/2Q1ZGFXqhv
— Sikhs For Sikhs (@SikhsForSikhs) August 26, 2018
On the other hand, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the legal advisor of Sikhs for Justice, claimed that Singh’s people were the ones who attacked Khalistan activists, as the latter were protesting peaceful. He also issued a statement and said that it was Singh’s supporters who instigated the violence.
GK Supporters Instigated Yuba City attacks on Khalistan activists who were peacefully protesting Desecration of Guru Granth Sahibji. Will complain to US Immigraion to ban GK from US. @ani @rsrobin1 @News18Punjab @timesofindia @IndianExpress @republic @dna pic.twitter.com/clPGTyZRy6
— Gurpatwant Singh Pannun (@Pannun_Lawyer) August 26, 2018
Singh was earlier attacked on Aug. 20, while he was coming out of a television studio in New York City. He had then tweeted the video of attack, and said, “A group of people attacked me and my relatives in New York. This will not scare me away from my path to serve the community. I have fought and I will fight until my last breath. Such cowardly incidents do not scare me.”
A group of people attacked me & my relatives in #NewYork. This will not scare me away from my path to serve the community. I have fought & I will fight till my last breath.Such cowardly incidents do not scare me.🙏 @SushmaSwaraj @USAmbIndia @IndiainNewYork https://t.co/au9SUx1qrt
— Manjit Singh GK (@ManjitGK) August 21, 2018
Pro-Khalistan movement demands creation of a separate country for Sikhs from India. Separatist Sikh organizations, including Sikhs for Justice, had organized a pro-Khalistan rally on Aug. 12 in Trafalgar Square, London, to promote their campaign. A counter rally was also organized on the same day at Trafalgar Square by supporters of unified India.
The UK government gave permission for the pro-Khalistan rally, citing people’s right to protest, even though India raised its concerns against the event. Britain later distanced itself from the rally, saying that merely allowing the protest to take place did not mean the government’s support towards the separatist campaign.