Court Date Of Bakersfield City Council Candidate Who ‘Threatened’ To Burn Gurdwara Set
NEW YORK, NY (IANS) – A former Bakersfield city council Sikh candidate, who allegedly threatened to burn down a gurdwara in the Californian city, will be making a court appearance at the end of this month for a preliminary hearing, a media report said.
Rajvir Singh Gill, 60, was arrested in March on suspicion of trying to hire hit men to shoot members of Bakersfield Gurdwara Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji Khalsa Darbar, and burn down the property, the 23ABC News channel reported.
Gill, charged with seven counts of soliciting specified criminal acts, is expected to be back in Kern County Court for a motion on August 31. He will also be in court for his preliminary hearings on October 5 and 6, Gill was told after he made a brief court appearance on August 17.
According to police records, Gill had an ongoing dispute with specific members of the temple and had also offered to pay someone to burn down the gurdwara.
He had attempted to run for City Council Ward 7 against Manpreet Kaur in 2022, who won and was the first Sikh Punjabi woman elected to the Bakersfield City Council.
Kaur had then issued a statement on the incident: “Hearing this news is distressing and frightening. This is one of our most highly attended Sikh temples locally. To hear of an alleged attempt to destroy a place of worship is heartbreaking and unfathomable.”
An earlier report by 23ABC News cited a member from a Sikh temple as saying that Gill had shown up at the property, disrupting prayers and threatening members of the congregation, and carrying a gun before being arrested.
Gill offered $10,000 to two Hispanic men to kill certain leaders of the congregation who are involved in the court cases, temple member Sukhwinder Singh Ranghi had told the news channel earlier.
Ranghi claimed that Gill drove the men around the city pointing out the homes of the temple leaders he wanted to be killed.
He also alleged that Gill had instructed the men on how they could burn down the temple by exploiting faulty electrical wiring, installed by his own workers when the temple was built more than a decade ago.