Attacker of Sikh spiritual leader alleges sexual abuse

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 11, 2014 11:10 hrs

London, Feb 11 (IANS) A Sikh religious leader was attacked with an axe at a temple during his visit to Britain in revenge for alleged sexual abuse, a court has heard.

Sri Satguru Uday Singh Ji, a spiritual head of the Namdhari sect of the Sikhs who was on a visit from India, was assaulted at Gurdwara Namdhari in the city of Leicester by 27-year-old Harjit Singh Toor in the early hours of Aug 10 last year.

The spiritual leader suffered a broken arm and facial injuries.

The accused has admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent but denied attempting murder.

The Birmingham Crown Court heard Monday that the victim had stayed at Toor's uncle's house in the city the night before the attack, media reported.

On the fateful day, Toor, dressed in the traditional white Namdhari clothing, walked slowly up the central aisle of the gurdwara, past the congregation of about 300 men and women, before pulling out the axe and leaping onto the stage.

Toor claimed that he was sexually abused by the victim 20 years ago in India.

The prosecution, however, did not accept his claim.

"Although the defendant is an orthodox Sikh, he was dressed like a Namdhari, wearing a white turban," the BBC quoted prosecutor Gordon Aspden as saying.

Namdharis believe in a succession of gurus after Guru Gobind Singh with their present Guru being Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji.

Mainstream Sikhism accepts Guru Gobind Singh's edict of the Guru Granth Sahib being the eternal Guru.

"That manner of dress meant he was able to walk into the gurdwara without being challenged," Aspden said.

"He walked down the central aisle... and when he reached the platform, the defendant pulled back his shawl and produced an axe that he had concealed underneath it," the prosecutor added.

The court saw CCTV footage showing worshippers wrestling the defendant to the ground and kicking him.

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