Gang jailed for "campaign of hatred" against Muslims in Leicester
Categories: Latest News
Monday February 09 2015
The Leicester Mercury reports on the sentencing of six men for their part in violent assaults and incitement to racial hatred against Muslims.
The local paper reports on the trial proceedings of a group of Sikh men who engaged in a “campaign of hatred” which saw them attack two Muslims in a car, take part in an altercation at an Indian restaurant in Leicester and set up a social media page to disseminate anti-Muslim vitriol.
In January 2013, BBC News reported on a disturbance at the Mughal Durbar restaurant which police, at the time, said was not a religiously aggravated hate crime.
In the Leicester Mercury’s coverage on the trial of the five Sikh men and one other, the restaurant incident is set in the context of tensions between Sikhs and Muslims in the city following allegations of the grooming of a young Sikh girl by Muslims.
In response to the claims of grooming, the six men are said to have verbally abused two Muslim men in car in June 2013 before attacking with chains, hockey sticks and other weapons. The two Muslim men escaped unscathed.
One of the six men, Satinderbir Singh, later set up a Facebook page filled with anti-Muslim posts which Judge Nicholas Dean described as “vicious and perverse and absurd”.
The posts, he said, “played on myth, exaggerations and paranoia.”
The paper reports that four of the other defendants posted messages on the same thread.
All six men pleaded guilty to criminal conduct and incitement to racial hatred, though properly speaking the social media offences should have been regarded as incitement to religious hatred given that the subject of antipathy was Muslims and Islam. However, given the disparity in legal protection on incitement to racial hatred and religious hatred, it is unsurprising that the prosecution took the race route.
The paper reports on sentences passed on the six men:
Parwinder Baning, 21, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault, actual bodily harm, possessing an imitation firearm, possessing a bladed article and importing an illegal haul of weapons. He was jailed for seven and a half years.
Mehul Lodhia, 24, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault and importing illegal knuckle-dusters. He was jailed for three years.
Damanpreet Singh, 19, pleaded guilty to affray, inciting racial hatred and conspiracy to commit assault and actual bodily harm. He was jailed for four years.
Harjinder Athwal, 24, pleaded guilty to inciting racial hatred, conspiracy to commit assault and actual bodily harm. He was jailed for two and a half years.
Amanpreet Singh, 25, pleaded guilty to affray. He was jailed for two years.
Satinderbir Singh, 20, pleaded guilty to inciting racial hatred. He was jailed for 15 months.