68-year-old Sikh attacked in US in alleged hate crime

The victim suffered abrasions and a broken collarbone after two men assaulted him on the road while he was waiting for a ride to work

New York: A 68-year-old Sikh man has been brutally assaulted by two persons in the US state of California, prompting police to launch a “hate crime” probe into the latest such incident in the country.

Amrik Singh Bal
Amrik Singh Bal was attacked in California’s Fresno area. Pic/Twitter

Amrik Singh Bal was attacked on Saturday morning in California’s Fresno area. The incident happened as Bal was waiting alone for a ride to work when two white men stopped their car in front of him and started yelling obscenities at him, Fresno police Sergeant Greg Noll said.

Fearing for his safety, Bal tried crossing the street but the suspects backed up their car and hit Bal with their back bumper. The two men then got out of the car and attacked Bal, hitting him in the face and upper body. Bal fell to the ground and hit his head. During the assault, one of the suspects yelled “Why are you here?”

The suspects fled only after they heard another vehicle approaching. Bal, who was taken to a local hospital, suffered abrasions to his nose and right hand and a broken collarbone.

Noll said police have started a hate-related criminal investigation into the attack on Bal adding that the Fresno police would coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security and FBI to solve this case.

“Sikhs have been mistaken for terrorists and radicals and continue to suffer after 9/11,” member of the Sikh Council of Central California Ike Iqbal Grewal said. “This is the latest episode of what Sikhs have been enduring when they are very peace-loving and hard-working citizens of this great country and not members of al-Qaida or ISIS or any other radical group.”

Rights group The Sikh Coalition said its prayers go out to Bal and his family. “We are quickly investigating and will share updates when we have them,” it said.

Similar incidents

>> Earlier this month, a Gurudwara in California was vandalised with hateful graffiti.

>>
 In September, a Sikh American father was viciously assaulted in a suburb outside of Chicago after being called ‘Bin Laden’.

>>
 In 2014, Sandeep Singh, a Sikh American father in New York City, was run over and dragged 30 feet after being called a ‘terrorist’.

>>
 In May 2013, 82-year-old Piara Singh was attacked outside Nanaksar Sikh Temple in south Fresno by a man, who later allegedly made inflammatory comments about Muslims.

>>
 In 2012, a gunman with Neo-Nazi ties walked into a Sikh gurudwara and shot and killed six innocent Sikh in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

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