Police arrested a Pakistan-origin man in England’s Derby after he allegedly vandalised the Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara there on 25 May in the morning. The police are investigating a possible association of the man with other groups.
Sources said that the man pasted “Kashmir-related” messages on the walls of the gurdwara before carrying out the act. Sikh organisations, as well as leaders, condemned the act of vandalism.
Sources said that the officials had identified the apprehended individual as a man of Pakistani origin. They said police are interrogating him in connection with the attack on the Guru Arjan Dev Gurudwara that took place in Derby.
“Shocking news of vandalism of Guru Arjan Dev Ji Gurudwara in Derby, the UK by a man of Pakistani origin, who’s been arrested. Such intolerance and hatred must end if humanity has to survive, especially when the world is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis,” Captain Amarinder Singh said in a tweet.
Confirming the development, the Sikh Federation UK said that the “individual responsible for this shocking criminal and physical damage” had been identified and arrested by Derby Police.
Manjinder Singh Sirsa, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, condemned the act and said that he was “deeply hurt with another incident of hate crime”. Sirsa urged External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar to raise the issue of hate crimes against Sikhs in the UK with his British counterpart.
Local news media in Derby had earlier reported that the police suspect the break-in and vandalising incident at the gurudwara was linked to an incident of stabbing in Normanton Road nearby, which the locals had reported to the cops at around 8:40 AM (local time) on 25 May.
In that incident, a man allegedly stabbed a 41-year-old individual for reasons yet under investigation. The accused arrested by the police for stabbing the man is reportedly the same person responsible for vandalising the gurdwara.
On its Facebook page, the gurdwara said, “From the evidence obtained thus far, the male’s attire and the note which was left, appears that he is of Muslim background. This is an area with a multi-cultural community, where all have lived and worked together for many years. Especially during these times, faith-based charities have been at the forefront.”
“This incident nor this message will create any tension between relations, but how you react to this will. We acknowledge this may be an individual or a small group however we should not malign the whole Muslim community and therefore request people to refrain from such posts,” the gurdwara further wrote.