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Assault on elderly Sikh a shameful example of hate crime: Shiromani Akali Dal

Terming the attack on an elderly Sikh by a teenage British girl as yet another shameful example of hate crime, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the matter with the UK government at the earliest.

The party, in a statement here, also expressed deep concern over the safety of Sikh diaspora settled in various parts of the world.

“The attack is unfortunate and horrifying and has shaken the Sikh community world over,” SAD secretary and spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said.

“It is yet another shameful example of hate crime,” he said, adding it was distressing that the number of such racial attacks on Sikhs settled abroad had increased manifold.

“In spite of this alarming situation, the Centre has not taken up the matter seriously with the authorities concerned,” he said.

The 19-year-old British girl has been arrested on the charge of assaulting the 80-year-old Sikh on August 10 after a video of the incident went viral online.

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The elderly man was punched in the face and shoved to the ground. His turban fell off and the attack left him with a bloodied nose and black eye, British media reports said.

The SAD secretary said when Manmohan Singh became the Prime Minister there were expectations that he would take up the issue of hate crimes with the concerned governments.

“But practically reverse has happened,” he said.

Cheema urged the Prime Minister and Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur to take concrete steps in this regard to mitigate the problems of the Sikh diaspora.

The SGPC, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, said the attack showed the members of the community living abroad were not safe and could be targeted anytime.

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