A hate crime investigation has been launched by police after a Sikh holy text was found damaged outside a residential address in Leeds, northern England.
West Yorkshire Police said it received the report of the incident from a member of the local Sikh community on Sunday. The incident occurred in the Headingley area of the city on July 12.
It was initially thought the damaged pieces of the holy text had been put in the victim’s bin by an unknown suspect after it had been put out for refuse collection on July 11. But this has been discounted after officers visited the victim this week to get a fuller account.
“Any crime such as this which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by hostility or prejudice to their race or religion is treated as a hate crime, and we treat all incidents of this nature very seriously,” said Chief Superintendent Steve Dodds, Leeds District Commander for West Yorkshire Police.
“It is completely unacceptable for someone to deliberately damage a holy text with the aim of causing offence to the victim as a member of the Sikh community. We have launched a criminal investigation led by detectives from Leeds District CID who are carrying out extensive enquiries to establish the full circumstances of this incident and to identify who is responsible,” he said.
Dodds said the police force appreciates that the incident has caused understandable concern in the local Sikh community and beyond.
“We are working closely with key community representatives to reassure them and keep them updated as we progress our investigation. Officers from our local neighbourhood policing teams and other well-established community engagement officers will also be supporting our work to reassure the community following this incident,” he said.
The police, which is appealing for anyone with information to come forward, said a crime has been recorded for racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances of the incident, including how the damaged text came to be left where it was discovered on St. Anne’s Road.