A prominent Sikh environmentalist from India was allegedly attacked in UK with the attacker also attempting to rip off his turban and shouting ‘Muslim, go back’. The incident took place outside the parliamentary office of Slough MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi at Westminster, the high-security area in central London of the United Kingdom where UK Parliament and other government offices are located.
Ravneet Singh, South Asia project manager of EcoSikh, who hails from Ludhiana in Punjab, told The Indian Express over phone that he was waiting outside MP’s office when a man came running towards him and began shaking his turban with both hands. He also attacked him on his neck. Before running away, he shouted, ‘Muslim, go back.’ EcoSikh is an organisation based in the United States working on environmental related issues in many countries including India.
Ravneet Singh further said, “At first I thought he must be mentally unwell. But soon the attack turned more aggressive. He held my turban with both hands and kept shaking it. My turban was almost down to my face. Then he also tried to injure my neck. I kept shouting what’s this, stop it. He did not budge. Soon security guards were there and he ran away. But we could hear what he was shouting. What we heard was ‘Muslim go back’…It was not English but some other language. But these three words were clearly there.”
Ravneet Singh along with his colleague Jaspreet Singh were waiting to meet MP Dhesi to discuss the plans for the upcoming World Sikh Environment Day on March 14 and establishing EcoSikh as an environmental charity in the UK, before which the attack took place.
UK police have recorded Ravneet’s statement. “MP has strongly condemned the incident and confirmed that he will follow up to prevent this kind of attacks on Sikhs. The police has informed us that the incident was recorded in the CCTV camera and they will find out the attacker. Our statement has been recorded,” added Ravneet.
In the past years since 9/11 attack in the US, Sikh community has become the target of hate crime in foreign countries and being mistaken as Muslims due to their beards and turbans.