Namdhari Sikh leader denies sexual abuse by attacker in UK
London: Spiritual head of the Namdhari sect Satguru Uday Singh on Wednesday described as "totally absurd" the claims that he sexually abused a 27-year-old Sikh man facing trial for attacking him with an axe in Britain last August.
Giving evidence to Birmingham Crown Court via video link from India, Uday Singh rejected claims that he had abused Harjit Singh Toor at the Indian headquarters of the Namdhari branch of Sikhism.
Toor, a non-Namdhari Sikh, on trial for causing the spiritual leader grievous bodily harm with intent?and attempted murder had alleged that the attack was in revenge over being abused by the religious leader in India in both 1994 and 1995, before he became sect leader.
Asked by prosecutor Gordon Aspden if there was a word of truth in the allegations, the religious leader said: "Absolutely none, it`s totally absurd."
Answering questions from Toor`s barrister, Francis Laird, he also repeatedly denied having visited a property where the sexual abuse is alleged to have taken place.
"I have never met him [Toor] as far as my memory goes. "I have not met him and there is no question of any events happening - I have never visited that particular village at all," Uday Singh said from his Bhaini Sahib Namdhari base near Ludhiana.
The religious leader suffered a broken arm and a cut nose when Toor attacked him with a three-foot axe during morning prayers at the Gurdwara Namdhari Temple in Leicester on August 11, just hours after arriving in the UK.
He described the attack saying: "He removed his shawl or blanket and suddenly he came out with the axe. My sudden reaction was to lift my right arm and move slowly backwards. I felt a lot of pain.
"There was excruciating pain in the arm and I was dazed by the attack. It was so sudden."
The jury was told how his face was slashed and his arm was broken as he tried to protect himself.
During almost an hour of evidence yesterday, the axe attack victim told the court he had been made aware that Toor was the nephew of a man he had known since at least the 1980s.
The trial is expected to conclude at the end of this week.
Opening the case on Monday, prosecutor Aspden had said Toor was motivated by religious hatred for his victim and rejected his claims of sexual abuse.
Uday Singh took over as Namdhari sect leader in December 2012 after the death of Satguru Jagjit Singh. His selection was opposed by some within the sect, including his elder brother Dalip Singh.
It was speculated that the attacker may have a link with the controversy surrounding the choice of sect leader.
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