August 24, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Ludhiana (August 24, 2012): According to reports received from Paterson, New Jersey a 72 year old Sikh man named Avtar Singh who is a gas station owner and one of the founding members of Glen Rock Gurdwara in New Jersey, was brutally beaten by his neighbour, Edward Koscovski, who owns a car business in Paterson (New Jersey) and shares a common driveway with Avtar Singh.
According to reports on July 26th, Avtar Singh went to Edward Koscovski’s shop to request him to move his truck that was parked and blocking the entrance of Avtar Singh’s gas station. The request turned into an altercation in which Avtar Singh was brutally assaulted.
“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” said Avtar Singh, who suffered injuries to his face and stomach.
According to information provided by United Sikhs, a NGO, upon arrival at the scene, the police arrested the 72 year old Avtar Singh and charged him with possession of a weapon (Kirpan).
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 is notable that the Kirpan is one of the five K’s – Kesh (uncut hair covered by turban), Kangha (wooden comb), Kara (metal bracelet) , Kachera (specific cotton undergarment) and Kirpan (small dagger) – that is carried by initiated Sikhs at all times.
According to reports NGO “United Sikhs” has contacted the Civil Rights Division and the Community Relations Service Division in the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as well as the State of New Jersey Attorney General’s office for investigation and is following up on Avtar Singh’s case to be heard next Thursday. United Sikhs will also follow up with the Paterson police regarding the questionable behaviour of the police officer who arrested Avtar Singh.
“Although this incident occurred 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 has claimed.
The five K’s – Kesh (uncut hair covered by turban), Kangha (wooden comb), Kara (metal bracelet) , Kachera (specific cotton undergarment) and Kirpan (small sword) are carried by initiated Sikhs at all times.
“United Sikhs will continue to assist Avtar Singh on his right to practice his faith and carry the Kirpan”, said Manvinder Singh, Director International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy, Untied Sikhs.
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