Indian Sikh activist's turban 'tugged at' outside UK House
London: A Sikh environmental activist on a visit to the UK from India has filed a complaint with Scotland Yard after his turban was tugged at by a white man shouting "Muslim go back" during a racist attack outside the parliament.
Ravneet Pal Singh, 37, South Asia Project Manager for EcoSikh, was in the security queue to enter Portcullis House - an extension of the House of Commons complex in Westminster - when a man targeted him on Wednesday. The "white Anglo Saxon man" spoke a language other than English but Singh was able to discern the words "Muslim" and "go back" before the attacker ran away.
"I am not sure why he was shouting and why he attacked my turban. I was able to prevent my turban coming off and he ran away when I shouted back but it was an extremely distressing experience," said Singh.
"He did not speak English but I could tell he was making racist remarks. I could not make out much of what he said but I did hear him use the words Muslim and go back. The police said the incident has been recorded on CCTV and that they will find the attacker," he said.
Metropolitan Police confirmed that officers are investigating the incident after they were called to reports of an assault on Wednesday evening.
"An allegation of common assault has been recorded. Officers from Westminster are investigating. No arrests have been made yet," a spokesperson said.
Ravneet Singh and his colleague, Jaspreet Singh, who returned to India today, were at Portcullis House to meet British Sikh MP Tan Dhesi regarding the upcoming World Sikh Environment Day on March 14 and to discuss the establishment of EcoSikh as an environmental charity in the UK.
"Disgusted to discover today that someone filled with hatred tried to pull off the turban of one of my guests standing in line outside the UK Parliament. I hope the authorities will take urgent action," said Dhesi, the Labour MP for Slough.
The President of EcoSikh, an organisation set up to connect Sikh values with initiatives to counter climate change, also condemned the attack on the group's representative.
"It is so sad that such an attack will take place on the sacred grounds of the UK Parliament. It just shows that lot more work is to be done to inform people about who Sikhs are and to promote understanding in the UK," said Rajwant Singh, who is also the co-Founder of the US-based National Sikh Campaign.
The Sikh community in the UK has often been the mistaken target of hate crimes against Muslims that surged after the 9/11 attack in the US.
Last June, an airline passenger mocked a Sikh man's turban and suggested he was a "terrorist" in a series of racist Snapchat posts that sparked outrage on social media.