Sikhs in New York hurl shoes at delegation led by SAD minister

The protesters pelted stones and hurled a shoe at Singh and other Akali leaders as they were whisked away from the venue amidst heavy police protection.

By: PTI | New York | Published:July 19, 2015 10:15 am
Tota Singh ota Singh, Minister for NRI Affairs in the Punjab government, and other Akali leaders were scheduled to address a meeting at Richmond Hill in the Queens borough yesterday. (File photo)

A senior cabinet minister in the Punjab government and his delegation came under attack here as hundreds of Sikhs protesting his visit allegedly threw stones and hurled a shoe at the leaders, following which the police took two youths into custody.

Tota Singh, Minister for NRI Affairs in the Punjab government, and other Akali leaders were scheduled to address a meeting at Richmond Hill in the Queens borough yesterday.

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However, hundreds of Sikhs protesting the visit and chanting slogans converged at the venue and allegedly surrounded the area, according to information provided by the rights group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).

The standoff between the Sikhs and Singh’s delegation continued for more than three hours and a heavy contingent of New York Police was summoned at the scene.

Two Sikh youths were taken in custody by the New York police for attacking the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader. New York Police said the two persons were arrested for obstructing governmental administration, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct.

SFJ said the protesters pelted stones and hurled a shoe at Singh and other Akali leaders as they were whisked away from the venue amidst heavy police protection.

“The North American Sikh groups are opposing SAD (Badal) for their failure to convict Indian police officers who were involved in extra-judicial killings of thousands of innocent Sikhs during counter insurgency operations in early 1990s,” SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said.

Singh is leading a delegation to the US and Canada to garner support of the Punjabi diaspora for the 2017 Assembly elections in Punjab.

“We will not allow SAD (Badal) leaders to visit America and challenge those Sikhs who oppose Akali policies and have taken political asylum for their political views,” organisers of the protest rally Himmat Singh said.

Among the groups protesting against the SAD (Badal) delegation’s visit to the US includes SFJ, Sikh Youth of America, Shiromani  Akali  Dal (Amritsar) and  American Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.

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  1. V
    Jul 19, 2015 at 2:57 pm
    Concern of SFJ is at right place but survival of Badals depends of BJP which seems in no mood to initiate proceedings against those policemen who crossed the limit of their legal duty
    1. D
      Jul 19, 2015 at 3:48 pm
      Well done, this what these cheap Thekedar of so called panth deserve.
      1. G
        George Cruz
        Jul 21, 2015 at 7:08 am
        Is this Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) group in America financed by the rich and well to do Sikhs who are Khalistan supporters??? Are these Khalistan supporters still get help from the stan ISI???
        1. J
          Jul 21, 2015 at 4:02 am
          This shows the pority of Badal and Badal who want to control Punjab for 25 years. Sikhs here show their disgust for Badal govt. And the shoe at very presentable dishonest minister gets just insult. Not that I like this but it is the will of educated Sikhs.
          1. R
            Jul 20, 2015 at 1:56 am
            It is sad that overseas Sikhs support and fund terrorism in their own homeland. Instead of throwing shoes and stones, hire the best lawyers to fight cases in India. How about those innocent people killed by militants in Punjab during the same time?
            1. S
              Jul 20, 2015 at 7:03 pm
              Sikhs Love stan......they hate is a known fact.....
              1. S
                Suren Singh
                Jul 20, 2015 at 2:58 am
                Crook Corrupt drug mafias deserve this Welcome
                1. R
                  Ramamurthy Venkateswaran
                  Jul 20, 2015 at 9:44 pm
                  The Sikhs abroad, particularly those in US behave like the youth in Kashmir, who have something up their sleeves. These protesters could not muster support in their own home. How else the SAD could win so many seats to form a government? By protesting in an unlawful manner, throwing shoes, stones at another Sikh, does n't augur well for the community, which is known for its fighting qualities and helpful atude towards others. A community which gives its life for others, should not denigrade itself like this. Hope good sense will prevail and orderly protests are organized in future. They could have embled and sought the visitor's permission to present a peion, but instead they chose a way similar to those youth in Kashmir. Regrettable episode.
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