Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Separatist Protesters Assault Indian Sikh Leader for Second Time Within a Week in U.S.

Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjit Singh GK

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.