An “ongoing dispute” involving men from the Sikh and Hindu communities who were known to each other is believed to be behind the killing of three men in a street fight in east London over the weekend.
The three men, in their late 20s and 30s and of Punjabi origin, were found with serious stab wounds by emergency services on Sunday night and pronounced dead at the scene in Seven Kings area of Redbridge.
Scotland Yard’s Specialist Crime Command launched a murder investigation and in its latest update on Tuesday said that while detectives are still working on formal identification of the murdered men, they do not believe the incident was gang or race-related. Two men, both aged 29, were arrested on suspicion of the murders remain in custody.
“We now believe all those involved were known to each other and from the Sikh and Hindu community, however, we are still in the process of identifying the men and working to inform their next of kin,” said Detective Chief Inspector Paul Considine, who is leading the investigation. “At this early stage, I do not believe this was gang or race-related. But, I believe there may have been an ongoing dispute between those involved. We believe the five men were involved in an altercation the previous evening (Saturday) at Krystel Banqueting that spilled out onto the High Road,” he said.
The three murdered men were builders who have been named locally as Narinder aka Nik Singh, Harinder aka Honey Kumar, and Baljit Singh. Narinder was from Hoshiarpur and Harinder from Patiala in Punjab. Baljit, who was also known as Malkiat Singh aka Balley Singh was from village Saraye Jattan of Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala. Youngest among his four brothers, he had migrated to the UK 16 years back.
Baljit’s cousin Sukhwinder Sukha said that his parents had found a bride for him who was to soon fly to England to marry him.
His mother, Bhajan Kaur, lives alone in the village.
Farmer sarpanch Charanjit Singh Dhillon appealed to both Union and Punjab governments to bring his body back.
Meanwhile, according to the media reports in the UK, the trio had been embroiled in a fight at a wedding reception Saturday night and the dispute may have been over unpaid building work.
On Sunday, an eyewitness heard one victim screaming: “they killed me, help me” before residents in the area called the ambulance and emergency services. Some images on social media show pools of blood in the aftermath of the stabbing. “I got a call saying my brother had been stabbed. I went there and saw him lying there. There was blood everywhere,” Jasbal Singh, the brother of Nik Singh, told the Evening Standard. “He was a popular guy with no enemies. I am devastated,” he said.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan visited the scene on Monday and called for more government funding to tackle knife crime in the city. “The horrific triple stabbing…is a tragic reminder of the evil scourge of knife crime that continues to plague our country,” he said.
Jas Athwal, the British Sikh leader of the local Redbridge Council of the area, who joined him at the site, said he believed the triple stabbings were an isolated incident involving the local Indian migrant community. “I made it clear to the Mayor that things like this do not happen here. More must be done. We need more police now,” he said.
The local Ilford South MP, Sam Tarry, also called for greater government funding into tackling the issue of knife crime