Indian Politician Targeted by Protesters During Kabaddi Event in Melbourne

first_imgFormer Punjab minister Sikander Singh Maluka was booed, and saw shoes and bottles hurled at him during a sports tournament in Melbourne on April 8, SBS Punjabi reported. Maluka has been involved in run-ins with the Sikh diaspora earlier, and was stopped by the Canadian police from entering a meeting venue in Abbotsford following protests by the Sikhs in 2015.The Shiromani Akali Dal politician from India, who was invited as the chief guest at the Kings International Kabaddi Cup at Errington Reserve in St Albans, Melbourne, was met by angry protesters at the venue once again. Videos of the incident posted on social media show demonstrators throwing shoes and water bottles towards the stage where Maluka was seated, asking him to “go back.”The fracas began during the semi final match between Australia and Pakistan. “The match was on when Sikh men began raising slogans against Maluka. Bottles were thrown towards the stage, someone also hurled a shoe in the direction [of Maluka],” Charanjit Singh, a journalist present at the site, told SBS Punjabi.The stage was covered with fence from all sides, Singh said. “But the most disturbing thing is, someone also threw a metal clamp used to hold the fence together towards the spectators and it could have caused very serious harm to anyone it struck,” he added.Maluka, who is the president of Punjab Kabaddi Association and chairman of All India Circle Style Kabaddi, was escorted out of the venue under police protection.The anger against Maluka stems from an incident in 2015, when he asked people to celebrate Diwali, after Sikh groups had called for a Black Diwali to protest against the alleged sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari in Kotkapura, Punjab. The anger against him gained more fuel when he attended a function in December 2016 at Rampura Phool where the  pattern of Sikh prayer was copied in a controversial manner.Maluka, however, denied that shoes were hurled at him during the event, and said that the protest was due to some fight between the kabaddi clubs. “No shoe was hurled on me, there was some sloganeering, but it had no political motive, rather two kabaddi clubs of Melbourne had some tussle with each other and hence persons from other club came to spoil the atmosphere,” he said, the Indian Express reported.The tournament organizers believe the protest was “preplanned,” according to SBS Punjabi.“There were just a handful of people who had planned this protest in advance and they filmed it as well,” Shammi Singh, one of the organizers, was quoted by the website as saying. “The start of the final match was delayed but Maluka stayed until it started and left as he had to be somewhere else,” he said.One man was detained by the police and later released, according to reports. Related ItemsMelbourneSikander Singh MalukaSikh diasporalast_img read more