Seven Kings stabbings: Redbridge Sikhs tell police of damage done to community in wake of fatal street fight
PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 January 2020
A group of Sikh community leaders met with the police to discuss the fallout within the community to last weekend's fatal triple stabbing in Seven Kings and how to move forward.
The biggest concern raised at the meeting on Sunday evening (January 26) was how the police's initial statement on the stabbing labelling the individuals as Sikhs led to some national media reports falsely reporting it involving Sikh gangs.
While the attendees thanked the police for their efforts in reaching out to them following the outcry, they stressed the damage that was done to the Sikh community as a whole.
Amandeep Singh, Sikh educator, said: "Everyone knew what was going to happen when the police labelled them as Sikhs.
"I've got a young girl and she went to school and people were asking her 'Are you part of a Sikh gang?'"
Representatives from the Met Police said they are very careful about what information they put out but they can't control what some national media organisations will then report on.
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Met Police Commander for Crime Prevention Inclusion and Engagement Mark McEwan said: "We don't say things lightly. It's as important to be not open to misinterpretation as it is to be clear."
Pc Shah Meah, faith and community lliaison officer for the Met's East Area Command, said he was looking forward to working with the Sikh community in the area and would put together an Introduction to Sikhism programme within the Met to help acclimate new recruits who are unfamiliar with the religion.
Councillor Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, praised the work of everyone who came together for the meeting but said more needed to be done in the future.
He said: "This was a reactive meeting rather than a proactive meeting. We need to be proactive and see these things coming in the distance and making sure it never happens again."
Harmander Singh who chaired the meeting said the Indian government had announced they would repatriate the bodies of the victims once they are ready.
He said: "My concern would be if entrepreneurs within the community suddenly say they are raising money to repatriate the body, that could be a scam.
"I'm not stopping anyone for raising money for anything else, but I just wanted to be clear on that."