LEICESTER, UK—A man has been sentenced for 17 years for an attack on a Namdhari cult leader inside a Leicester Namdhari temple.
Harjit Singh Toor, (27), of Woods Close, Oadby was found guilty of attempted murder after a six-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
The pre-planned attack happened at the Namdhari Temple on Linden Street, Spinney Hills, Leicester on Sunday, August 11 last year.
The court heard that Toor entered the building during morning prayers and walked down the aisle toward Uday “Singh”. He then removed his shawl, held up the axe and swung at the 56-year-old cult leader, hitting him on the head and wrist. The attack was only brought to an end when members of the congregation overpowered him.
Toor was jailed today for 17 years after a jury unanimously convicted him of attempted murder.
Mr. Justice Wilkie said while Sentencing Toor:
The jury, by its verdict, is sure that whatever the motivation for your murderous attack on him with a ferocious weapon, a three-foot axe, you intended to kill him.
You intended to kill a person recently appointed the living Guru of the [Namdharis]… You did so when he was presiding over a religious ceremony in a packed temple organized to mark his first official visit to his followers in the UK.
The attack was pre-meditated and you had armed yourself with a weapon. You are an orthodox Sikh and disguised yourself as a follower of the [Namdharis] .
You approached Uday “Singh”, who was sitting on the floor on a small platform, in a way that suggested you had come to offer respect, as other members of the congregation had.
When you were quite close, you drew your weapon and launched a ferocious and sustained attack striking Uday “Singh” at least once, breaking his arm and cutting his face…
There is dispute as to your initial motivation, either it was a religious attack, or because of personal hatred for sexual abuse of you by Uday “Singh” when you were a child.
Both the prosecution and defense have agreed that whatever the motivation, you are guilty of attempted murder.
I will sentence you as such, but on a basis most favorable to you.
The Namdhari cult was created in the early 19th century as a British rouse to tamp down on Sikh insurgency against the occupying British forces. Since that time, they have continued to be a separate and distinct group from the mainstream Sikh religion which does not believe in human gurus.