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Gurdwara attacked in Oz, Sikhs appeal for security

world Updated: Jun 02, 2011 20:30 IST

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A gurdwara in the Australian state of Victoria has been vandalised in what is believed to be a "racial" attack, sparking fears among the minority community which has appealed for greater security for the Sikhs.

Sikhs in Shepparton in northern Victoria have appealed to those who vandalised their gurdwara to leave them alone.

"Why they're doing it we don't know and we think there's a bit of racism - I'm not sure but (there) could be," a local Sikh Kuldeep Singh was quoted as saying by ABC News today.

Security has been stepped up around the gurdwara after recent vandalism attacks, including eggs being thrown at the building and a car smashing a fence around the structure, the report said.

"If somebody has got a problem it would be good to talk to us but definitely we want peace and we want to send a message of peace around," he said, adding the attacks are hurtful.

Singh said it was difficult to understand as "we've got a very good reputation in the community here". "We are hardworking people, we believe in God," he noted.

In a separate incident, a Sikh boy studying in Class 11 at an outer northern Christian school in Melbourne was forced to shave off his beard, Harkirat Singh of the Sikh Federation of Australia was quoted as saying by ABC radio.

It has sparked an outrage among the Indian community which accused the institute of religious discrimination.

The school principal has apologised "for any harm that he might have felt or any hurt that he might have felt".

Over 100 incidents of attacks on Indians, including racial, have come to light in the last few years in Australia.

Last year, an organisation, National Council of Indian Australians was formed here to secure the rights and interests of the minority community members in the country amid a series of attacks on them.