Tensions between a nationalist Hindu group, allegedly consisting of RSS and BJP affiliated members, and the Sikh community arose in Sydney’s Indian community on Sunday, 14 February, and a rally in support of the farm laws has been scheduled for next week.
The Sikh community in Australia has been supporting the farmers’ protests in India against the three contentious farm laws passed by the Indian government in September.
The New South Wales (NSW) Police stopped a convoy of 50 cars on Sunday at around 5.30 pm along Sunnyholt Road at the Vardy’s Road intersection. It was supposed to drive past Gurdwara Sahib Glenwood. According to the Indian Link, the police alerted the Gurudwara to be cautious.
Rally Halted by the Police
The rally, which was being carried out from Harris Park to Blacktown and to Quakers Hill, was denied permission by the police citing “tensions between Sikh and Hindu communities". Two police cars followed the convoy to monitor the situation and alerted the local station, while the Riverstone Police preempted any untoward incident.
Chief Inspector Adam Philips, Granville Police Station, told Indian Link, “The car rally, we believe, was simply going to aggravate the current situation between the two communities, which is why the rally was stopped.”
There have been no arrests made so far.
A video footage released on social media shows religious raising slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ along with waving of the Indian flag.
No Group Has Taken Responsibility So Far
The incident raised concerns over safety within the Sikh community, as they can be easily targeted due to “their unique appearance in turbans and facial hair”, noted a statement put out by the Australian Sikh Association and Glenwood Gurdwara soon after the incident.
So far, no groups have come forward to take responsibility for organising this rally. However, the police were approached to take permission “to celebrate Arya Samaj”, a claim the head of the Arya Samaj of Australia, Pundit Awindra Prasad, has denied to Indian Link.
Later that night, the situation escalated in Harris Park where miscreants drove through Wigram Street and smashed windows of cars in the neighbourhood. These men were chased by locals following which they abandoned their car and escaped on foot, noted Indian Link.
(With inputs from Indian Link.)