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HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Amritsar, September 24, 2013
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandik Committee (SGPC) has condemned the attack on Prabhjot Singh, an assistant professor at the Columbia University in the United States (US) and demanded immediate arrest of all those involved in the hate crime. Expressing concern over the latest incident of hate crime in the US, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said here on Tuesday that such incidents against Sikhs are not checked despite numerous appeals by Sikh groups and organisations. It is all the more sad that it has happened in a country like the US, the most powerful democratic nation of the world, he added.

The assistant professor was attacked by a group of young men while he was taking a morning walk in the Harlem neighbourhood of Manhattan, New York. The attackers called the victim a terrorist and Osama.

"Despite our best efforts of explaining our distinct identity, such attacks have not stopped. The US government needs to take such incidents more seriously", he added.

He also pointed to the killing of seven persons during an attack at the Oak Creek gurdwara in Wisconsin state last year. He appealed to the Obama administration to take concrete steps to protect Sikhs, who are prey of mistaken identity and become easy targets of hate crime.


Opening of Sikh Centre in US

The latest case of hate crime against a Sikh has prompted the SGPC to put on fast track its proposed Global Sikh Centre for Learning and Information. This centre is proposed to be setup at Yuba City of California and the SGPC already has got the land for this.

To make the centre a reality, a four member team of SGPC will leave for the US on Wednesday. The group consists of SGPC senior vice president Raghujit Singh Virk, general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, assistant secretary PS Sarao and executive committee member Rajinder Singh Mehta.

Besides preaching Sikhism, the main motive of the Centre is to explain the Sikh religion and their separate and distinct identity. This has become a necessity following cases of hate crime against members of the community.

This global centre will coordinate with the US and other governments, worldwide to send a clear cut message on Sikhism and the Sikhs. The aim is to explain how Sikhs with turbans are different from members of other communities or races who too support head gears.

The centre will also give information about the Sikh religious symbols and their importance. An insight into Sikh history and culture and 'gurbani' will also be provided at the centre.

The SGPC will use the latest techniques to communicate its views and those of the community to governments and individuals all over the globe.