JALANDHAR: An Indian-origin youth has been arrested for a series of attacks on Sikhs which are suspected to be hate crimes. Asutalian media has identified the man as 24-year-old Vishal Jood.
NSW police, in a statement, said Jood was arrested on Friday morning, from a house on Dixon Street in Parramatta, a major commercial hub outside Sydney. He has been charged with “three counts of affray, three counts of armed with intent commit indictable offence, two counts of destroy or damage property » $5000 and =$15,000 (DV), and assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company of other(s)”, said police.
The 24-year-old was refused bail and he was produced in a Parramatta court on Saturday. “Since September last year, officers attached to Parramatta Police Area Command have been investigating a number of incidents in Harris Park. About 8.30pm, September 16, 2020, a man walking along Brisbane Street was assaulted by a group of up to five men. The man was allegedly struck several times in the head with a baseball bat and then kicked when on the ground. He was taken to Westmead Hospital for treatment to facial injuries,” said NSW police.
About 6.30pm on February 14, 2021, a man driving a black 2015 Range Rover along Marion Street was allegedly attacked by a group of up to five men, holding sticks and other weapons, police said. Mentioning the third crime, in which Jood was involved, police said, “About 10.15pm, on February 28, 2021, a group of people travelling in a vehicle on Kendall Street was allegedly attacked by up to 10 men. The vehicle sustained serious damage.”
It was the last crime which attracted huge attention as it happened when bitterness between pro- and anti-farm groups had already spilled overseas and a few incidents took place in Australia, New Zealand and Canada displaying this tension. The car with Sikh youths inside was attacked by a group of persons carrying baseballs bats, rods etc and all its windows were smashed. The group had participated in anti-farm-laws protest and one of the youths had told TOI that they were either attacked due to their Sikh identity or for their support to anti-farm-laws protest in Sydney where four of them had participated. The incident was caught on CCTV cameras. The youths were returning after dinner at an Indian restaurant in Harris Park area. All five are in early 20s and are students.
“It seems that our presence was marked at the restaurant by one or more attackers and then more gathered to waylay and attack us,” one of the Sikh youths had told TOI a few days after the attack.
This article first appeared on Times of India