Indian-American arrested for plotting to burn down gurdwara in California

BAKER (USA): A former candidate for Bakersfield City Council, Rajvir “Raj” Singh Gill, 60, was arrested last weekend on suspicion of trying to hire goons to set fire to and shoot on one of the largest Gurdawaras in the region, gurdawara Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji Khalsa Darbarreported
Gill, who was under a temporary restraining order not to harass the gurdwara members, was taken into custody on Saturday on six counts of solicitation to commit an indictable offense, according to Bakersfield police in Kern County, Calif. Records, however, show Gill has since been released from prison.
Gill had won less than 7% of the vote in November’s Ward 7 election. According to a former gurdwara, Sukhwinder Singh Ranghi, Gill had shown up at the property in recent months, disrupting prayers and threatening members of the congregation, carrying a gun, before being arrested at some point. There is no record of his arrest before Saturday.
According to Ranghi, the repeated clashes were due to a dispute over more than US$800,000, brought in by members of the congregation, which were supposed to repay a legal entity set up to take over the gurdwara in July 2020, reported. .
“It was probably greed that got to him,” Ranghi said through a translator., could not reach Gill for comment.
Manpreet Kaur, a councilwoman who won last fall’s election, said she was aware of the restraining order against Gill but was unaware of the details of the dispute. She called the allegations against him unfathomable.
“It’s really heartbreaking. It’s true. It’s scary and I just hope the community stays safe,” she said, as quoted by
A spokesperson for the Bakersfield Police Department declined to say what the reason for Gill’s actions might be. The agent did not specify the case.
According to the Sikh elder, Ranghi, Gill offered $10,000 to two Hispanic men to kill some congregation leaders involved in the court cases, including Ranghi. He said Gill led the men around town showing them the houses of the temple leaders he wanted to kill. This information came to temple management through an associate of the planned hitmen, reported.
Ranghi alleged that Gill explained to the men how they could burn down the temple by exploiting faulty electrical wiring, installed by his own workers when the temple was built more than a decade ago.
Ranghi showed part of a video he said captured Gill unplugging microphones still in use during a religious service at the temple.
Gurudawara Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji Khalsa Darbar is one of the busiest in Bakersfield, with over 500 members. It hosts an annual celebration at the end of October which attracts thousands of people.


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