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Swastika daubed on Sikh gurdwara in Gravesend

Police are investigating after a Nazi swastika symbol was daubed on the boundary wall outside a Sikh gurdwara in Gravesend.

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Ayling said it was an "appalling act" and promised his force would investigate.

Assistant Chief Constable Peter Ayling
Assistant Chief Constable Peter Ayling

The swastika was spray-painted on the boundary wall of the Siri Guru Nanak Darbar, near to the gate of the building in Khalsa Avenue, it is believed on Wednesday evening.

It has since been removed by volunteers who had to paint over it.

Worshipper Sukh Singh tweeted: "This is depressing. I thought we were way past this."

He said: "Gravesend has a diverse and generally cohesive community, and people from all races and religions attend our magnificent guru ghar; this person was taught to hate, and is in the minority; a minority given a voice; let’s drown this hate out."

Jagdev Singh Virdee is the general secretary at the gurdwara.

Sukh Singh's Tweet about the damage (44928634)
Sukh Singh's Tweet about the damage (44928634)

He said: "It was painted near the gate, about 100 metres from the main building, in an area not yet covered by CCTV.

"Ironically we are due to extend our CCTV cover there this coming week.

"It is shocking, and also a surprise since we have very good relations with the community.

"It is the first time that something like this has happened in the 11 years since we moved here."

Mr Virdee did not think the vandalism represented an increase in racism.

Jagdev Singh Virdee: He should come in and talk
Jagdev Singh Virdee: He should come in and talk

He said: "It's hard to say of course, but it was probably an individual acting through ignorance.

"We invite whoever it was to come in and talk to us. They will be very welcome."

ACC Ayling praised the Sikh community for its positive response to the attack.

Kent Police are appealing for help to track down the culprit.

DI Shaun Creed said: "We are currently investigating this act of racially motivated graffiti and would ask for anyone who may have information to come forward.

"Incidents of this nature are offensive and will not be tolerated and we will work with those effected to offer support and reassurance."

If you can help, contact the Kent Police witness appeal line on 01474 366149 quoting reference 46/36573/21.

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or complete the anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org.

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend

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