SBS – Sikh victims of vandalism offer support to unknown offenders

A small Sikh community in South Australia has extended an olive branch to the vandals who damaged their temple [Gurdwara], offering to help the unknown offenders if they need support.

Rhiannon Elston

Port Augusta, South Australia, 17 Jan 2017. A Sikh temple [Gurdwara] in the South Australian city of Port Augusta has been targeted by vandals who smashed windows, stole property and caused about $4000 worth of damage over the weekend.

Sunny Singh says about 60 members of the community arrived at the temple on Sunday afternoon for prayers when they noticed the damage.

“We found out around 4 o’clock all the windows and doors were smashed, the glass doors and windows, and the camera there outside the building was missing as well, so that was a little disappointing for us,” he said.

But Mr Singh doesn’t think the attack was racially motivated.

“We don’t really want to label it as a racist attack or anything like that,” he said.

“These people just damage people’s property and they don’t care who they are, who they belong to.”

Port Augusta sergeant Stephen Fitzgerald says police are appealing for possible witnesses.

“We haven’t identified any suspects at this stage, however we’ve got some CCTV footage,” he said.

“What we’re trying to do at the moment is wait for that footage, but also appeal to the public, if anyone was around that building at the time, if they were able to give us information, if they saw anything.”

Police believe the offence took place between sunset on Saturday afternoon and midday on Sunday, and it may have been a random and isolated attack.

“We don’t believe at this stage that it’s racially, politically or religiously motivated,” Sergeant Fitzgerald said.

Despite his disappointment, Mr Singh – who regularly hands out meals for the homeless in the area – told media he and the Sikh community stand ready to help the unknown vandal or vandals if they need support.

“If they need any help, or any sort of things they need, they can come and talk to us, we will help them in any way,” he said.

And he wants to thank those in Port Augusta who have shown his community their support.

“Port Augusta people are really good to us, and are always very supportive of us,” he said.

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/01/17/sikh-victims-vandalism-offer-support-unknown-offenders

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