Family to proceed with complaint after officers ignored requests to remove shoes before entering room where Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Sikh scriptural Guru) was present.
Photo: JP Asher.
On August 23rd a Sikh family in Hitchin found themselves subjected to a highly aggressive armed raid by local police at their home.
The cause of the raid is alleged to have been a loud pop emanating from the car when a tyre burst.
Sukhi Singh Rayat shared with us a statement (seen below) which details what occurred which has forced the family to make a complaint against the police.
Statement from Sukhi Singh Rayat on the incident of a police raid on his house
On the 23rd August, my family (daughter aged 20, son aged 17 and mother aged 75) and I were on our way to Southall to shop for the Keertan Smagam in Hitchin Singh Sabha Gurdwara. En route to Southall we realised that I had a tyre puncture. Due to this we had to postpone our trip and drive home to call the RAC as soon as possible.
On arrival at home, my son daughter and mother went inside. I remained seated in my car in the drive way on the phone to the RAC. The RAC requested that I looked at the tyres and informed them of what number tyre the car had.
The moment I stepped out of the car I hear someone shout stop, and that was when my whole house was cornered off with seven police cars and 20 police men, 10 of whom were armed. I found myself being pushed against the wall, my hands being cuffed, dogs barking at me and three rifles being pointed at my head, my chest and my feet. I had no idea what had just happened. I found myself being pushed into a police vehicle.
While this was all happening my family were inside. Initially they asked my elder brother to shut the door, which he did. Then at the top of their voices demanded that they all came out of the house one by one. This is when my 17 year old son was violently pushed towards the wall and hand cuffed. Then came my elder brother. Both these two males had two guns pointing at their heads. They stood on the main road outside my house. After us three males were removed from the scene they asked my mother and my daughter to come out of the house. Both of them co-operated with no dispute.
Then they violently raided our house and insulted our religion. We had one request which was repeated three times to the officers about entering our room upstairs, where Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj was, and it was disregarded.
Why had this all happened? It all happened because the police had received a phone call from a passer-by who had claimed that they had seen myself and my son, who was sat in the front passenger seat, have firearms in our hands. This story from this ONE witness changed three times. Initially they saw a gun, then they saw my son make gun gestures, and finally they heard a “pop”.
We are hurt, but more importantly we are angry. We feel as though we are living in a society with institutions that are uneducated, and ignorant towards understanding culture, race and religion. We feel as though this whole operation is an example of racial profiling. The chief constable of north Hertfordshire has said sorry, but quite frankly, sorry is not enough.