The president of Brookside Sikh Temple in Surrey, B.C., has been attacked while in custody awaiting trial for attempted murder.
Baldev Singh Kalsi, 66, leader of the Gurdwara Sahib Brookside, was taken into police custody after his wife, Narinder Kaur Kalsi, was found in severe medical distress at their home in South Surrey on Sunday.
Kalsi had been charged with aggravated assault on Monday, but the charges were upgraded to attempted murder Tuesday.
According to Cpl. Bert Paquet, Kalsi was then attacked on Tuesday night around 8.30 p.m. PT, while at pretrial facilities in Surrey.
"Our officers attended to the facility as well as a local hospital where Kalsi was transported," said Paquet. "Kalsi suffered facial injuries, however he is expected to make a full recovery."
Paquet says Serious Crimes is investigating the assault and a 42-year-old man has been identified as a suspect. The assault does not appear to be linked to the ongoing homicide investigation.
Canadian Sikhs 'shocked and saddened'
In a press release, Jasbir Kaur Randhawa, WSO vice president for B.C., said the organization is shocked and saddened by the tragic assault against Narinder Kaur Kalsi.
“The entire community is shocked by this incident. Violence against women is a serious problem that needs to be addressed by the South Asian community, including Sikhs," said Randhawa.
"Early intervention and role modelling are key to making a difference. The WSO has been involved in several initiatives to put violence against women on the agenda in the community and a lot more work needs to be done."
According to the press release, the Brookside Gurdwara participated in a WSO campaign against violence to women last year, by providing baked goods and care packages to residents in local women’s shelters.
WSO president Dr. Amrtpal Singh Shergill says statements and expressions of regret are not enough.
"We must continue to do more to raise awareness about violence against women and ensure adequate resources and supports exist for our community.
"Our thoughts are with Narinder Kaur Kalsi and we pray that she makes a full recovery."
As of Wednesday, Kalsi remained in hospital, on life support.