Seven Kings stabbings: Redbridge Sikh community calls for unity after 'personal feud' ends in bloodshed
PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:16 22 January 2020
Photography by Ken Mears
The Sikh community in Redbridge has spoken out against "false and untrue" media reports following the deaths of three Indian men in Seven Kings on Sunday.
A vigil was organised and held by Singh Sabha London East on Tuesday night for the three men who were stabbed to death during a brawl in Elmstead Road 48 hours before.
Police were called to reports of a disturbance around 7.30pm on Sunday and found the men suffering stab wounds.
Paramedics pronounced all three men dead at the scene.
According to police, those involved were known to each other and from both Sikh and Hindu communities.
The Sikh community have condemned sensationalist national media reports which suggested the incident was gang-related.
Speaking at the vigil, a spokesman for Singh Sabha London East said: "Obviously we are very distressed. Shockwaves have gone through the community.
"As a Sikh community, we are even more upset at the way the media has treated us.
"When a tragedy like this happens, they are very quick to say it was Sikh gangs, which it totally false and untrue.
"Up and down the country, the Sikh community are very distressed by this, even more so that the media treated us in such a bad manner.
"We are not happy with this, that's why we are here today."
Councillor Bob Littlewood, cabinet member for crime, safety and community cohesion; and council leader Councillor Jas Athwal paid tribute to the men who died and spoke out against media reports about what had happened.
Cllr Athwal said: "This devastating event that took place here on Sunday night has ruined families.
"With that comes all the bad publicity. It was a personal feud, a personal grudge that got out of hand.
"What we must do as a community is come together - this is the sort of thing that we cannot have in our midst.
"We must do everything we can to ensure it does not happen again.
"In terms of some of the bad publicity that has been going on, I was at great pains yesterday to make clear to the media that there were no tensions, no tensions between communities and certainly no tension in the Sikh community.
He added: "This was a personal feud that spilled over and now everybody in Seven Kings and beyond are suffering.
"We've got to learn the lessons from this - violence only leads to heartbreak.
"We must ensure as a community we come together and we give enough support to those left behind."
Another speaker, Amandeep Singh, said he was "deeply saddened by the events that have shaken the community".
"But what a wonderful thing to see everybody come together and stand in solidarity," he said.
Cllr Littlewood described the Sikh community as a "beacon" and agreed that the narrative described by national media organisations had been wrong.
"I think we need to make it clear that the whole situation has not been portrayed in an honest way," he said. "Your community is a shining example and that is the optimism I hold - that kind of attitude will win in the end."
In a statement released on Monday, Cllr Athwal added: "What happened in Seven Kings is truly devastating for all of us.
"Three young men, who had their whole lives ahead of them, have tragically died.
"Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those young men, and the entire community.
"An incident like this is unheard of within the Sikh community here in Redbridge.
"I think tragically there are at least three families who are going to be in mourning and this is going to last a lifetime for the people left behind. We've got to look at the causes of why this happened and address those."
Despite national media reports naming the victims, police are still not in a position to formally identify the three men who died.
However, they have confirmed their ages as 29, 30 and 38 years old.