Published August 24, 2012 | 9:41 am
New York: A 70 year old Sikh man was allegedly beaten up in New Jersey by his neighbour and later arrested by the police for keeping “Kirpan”, a sikh article of faith.
The incident occurred on July 26, around 10 days prior to the Wisconsin tragedy, it reinforces the lack of cultural sensitivity training within law enforcement agencies, especially regarding the Sikh Kakkars/articles of faith, United Sikhs, a Sikh advocacy group said.
Avtar Singh, the victim, one of the founder members of Glen Rock Gurdwara in New Jersey, is a gas station owner and went to his neighbour shop to request Edward Koscovski to request him to move his truck that was parked and blocking the entrance of his gas station.
The request turned into an altercation in which Avtar Singh was brutally assaulted, it said.
“I kept on yelling that please let me go but nothing moved Edward from hitting me. When I turned around using all my strength, Edward smashed my face, broke my teeth and kept punching me in the stomach. He grabbed my Kirpan and threw it at his attendant.”
“The attendant removed the Kirpan from the mian (cover) and hid the mian (cover) in a room inside. He also snatched my phone and put it out of sight,” Avtar Singh said.
Upon arrival at the scene, the police arrested the 72-year-old Avtar Singh and charged him with possession of a weapon (Kirpan), United Sikhs said.
He was questioned before anyone attended to his injuries and then taken to the hospital and was handcuffed to the hospital bed during his stay at the hospital. He was then taken to the police station and jailed till his family members filed his bail application, it said.