Repeated Vandalism At North Carolina Gurdwara; Worried Sikhs Want Probe
CHARLOTTE, NC (IANS) – A recent string of attacks by vandals on a Sikh temple has left the community worried with leaders asking for a thorough investigation into the incidents.
In various incidents over the last two months, the windows, lights, and security cameras of Gurdwara Sahib Khalsa Darbar on East Arrowood Road here, have been shattered and damaged.
“It’s shocking for us to experience things like this. We’re a small community in Charlotte…” Ajay Singh, a Sikh community member told the Charlotte Observer.
According to the 2021 American Community Survey, there are roughly 6,900 Sikhs out of 10.5 million people across North Carolina.
Singh said acts of vandalism at the Gurdwara started last fall with trash being thrown around the area. “On January 3, a window near the worship room was destroyed. Two days later, a window was broken near a room for children,” he said.
Gurdwara members say they had filed a police report, but Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police denied there were any between December 1 and January 13. Police did not respond to a Charlotte Observer inquiry on whether there was an active investigation there.
“We really need law enforcement to step up,” Pawanjit Singh, a member of the Gurdwara, told Charlotte Observer. “They need to find who is doing this and why they are doing this.”Pawanjit Singh further said that no one was present at the gurdwara when the acts occurred, and the motive of attack remains unknown.
“Ninety percent of police officers probably do not know who Sikhs are,” he said. “When they don’t know, they can’t relate to what an act of vandalism at a Sikh temple means.”
The community leaders have set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of the damages and install a safety fence and a gate. Apart from being a place of worship, the gurdwara runs a school attended by more than 40 children and provides community meals, Punjabi language, leadership, and music classes.