Sikh Boy Admits his Attack was a Lie

December 24, 2006

Author: Lorna Martin

Source: The Observer,,1978539,00.html

A Sikh schoolboy, who prompted an inter-faith vigil to promote peace, respect and tolerance after claiming his hair was chopped off by racist thugs, invented the story.

The 15-year-old, in tears, gave a graphic description of a vicious verbal and physical attack by four white males who struck as he walked near his home in Edinburgh. His story was widely reported because of its unusually aggressive nature. It is the Sikh tradition for males to keep their hair uncut and not to shave their beard or moustache.

The teenager claimed that, after being punched and kicked, he fell to the ground, had his bandana-style head-covering torn off and his hair chopped off with a knife. At the time community leaders explained that a Sikh's hair is sacred, and for someone to cut it off in such an attack was akin to someone taking his life.

Police investigating the claims questioned more than 120 people and studied hours of CCTV footage.

In addition, the vigil was held to promote inter-faith tolerance. It was attended by hundreds of Sikhs who had travelled from across the UK, as well as by community leaders and representatives of other religions. Scores of residents from the shocked community turned out to express their support.

Although the boy did not require hospital treatment, it was reported that he had some bruising and swelling on his nose and cheeks. He also had racist remarks written on him.