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Indian Hailed As A 'Hero' In London

PTI 11 Jan 2010, 20:42:48 IST

Sukhwinder Singh, a Sikh man of Indian origin who died while trying to rescue a woman who was being mugged on the streets of London has been widely hailed as a hero.  

Singh, 31, who has one child, chased the thieves after witnessing the attack on a 28-year-old woman near Barking station in east London.   After pursuing the two men along several residential streets, Singh caught up with the pair and a fight broke out, during which he was fatally wounded. 

Singh, a builder, was taken to the Royal London hospital, where he later died.  Police said the dead man was a hero who had lost his life bravely trying to prevent more crime being committed in his community.  

The woman, later identified as Indian student Karamjit Kaur, was walking home at about 6.40pm on Friday when the attackers struck from behind and stole her bag.  Singh, who has lived in London for 10 years, intervened despite not knowing the victim.  London Metropolitan police has now advised people not to intervene to catch criminals but bear their own safety in mind during such incidents. 

Detective Inspector John Sandlin said: "This is a tragic death of a man who was killed for attempting to stop others committing crime, and our thoughts are with Sukhwinder's family.  "...However, I would also to reassure the wider community that tragic events such as these are very rare." 

"What Mr Singh did was obviously very brave but I would not encourage that members of the public do that. What I would encourage the public to do is contact us immediately," he added  Tributes have been paid to the "brave" and "special" man who would help anybody.  

Singh's photo was published on the front pages of several newspapers.  Nirmal Singh Gill, who represents the Longbridge ward on Barking and Dagenham council, said he knew Singh by his nickname, "Bittu". 

He said: "He was a very nice young man. He used to go the Gurdwara every evening and was always helping. He was a smart guy who didn't drink at all and was a very clean-living person. 

He would help anybody so it doesn't surprise me that he was trying to help a lady."  "He didn't deserve this - nobody deserves it - but he was a special young man.  He was very well known in the Sikh community and everyone is very shocked. It's a very big loss to everyone, both here and in India." PTI