Members of the Sikh community stand in line to vote for the Khaistan referendum. — Reporter/File

LONDON: The Metropolitan Police have charged a Sikh man with a double stabbing at an Indian Independence Day event in west London.

Gurpreet Singh, 25, from Belmont Road, Ilford, is charged with attempted Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) with intent, two counts of GBH with intent, one count of affray, threats with a bladed article, and two counts of possession of a bladed article.

A second man, in his 20s, was arrested and released on bail.

Two Indian men were seriously injured and getting hospital treatment as a bloody clash broke out between hundreds of Indian men celebrating India’s Independence Day and a group of around five pro-Khalistan British Sikhs who refused to join the celebrations on the night of 15 August here.

The violence took place outside South Hall, Broadway in West London where hundreds of Indian men were raising slogans in support of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the RSS on the night of 15th August.

The clashes have raised the specter of communal clashes as happened last year in Leicester when a Hindutva mob attacked local Muslims and damaged their properties, unleashing five days of violent disturbances.

Video footage showed that a large number of Hindu men were marching outside Broadway in South Hall carrying Indian flags when met by a group of around five Sikhs who were carrying flags of Khalistan.

The mob was raising slogans of “Jai Shri Ram” and asked the Sikh men to join but they refused. The mob was also raising slogans in support of extremist Hindu groups RSS and BJP, the ruling Hindutva party. The footage then shows the Hindutva crowd attacking the Sikh men who were chased down the road and assaulted.

Footage also shows an Indian man charging with a huge knife at the Sikh men but the police have not taken any action against him so far.

An eye witness told the Geo News correspondent that when put on the ground, the Sikh man used his Kirpan in self-defence after he was assaulted. Two other Sikh men were brutally beaten and are currently being hospitalised. The Hindutva men can be heard asking each other to beat up the Sikhs.

Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, lead for policing in Ealing, said: “I recognise the enormous concern this incident will have caused to the community, in what was an otherwise largely peaceful and celebratory event. I can assure everyone that an investigation to determine what happened is now underway. Our suspect remains in custody and the two victims are in hospital being treated. Their families are aware. 

“This incident also exemplifies the bravery of our officers, who, having been informed of an altercation, then responded without concern for their own safety and were thrust into apprehending a man armed with a knife. Thankfully the injury my officer sustained was not serious, but her welfare is paramount and we will provide her with every support that we can.”

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