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 was attacked on Saturday morning in California’s Fresno area, a report in the Fresno Bee said. The incident happened as Mr. 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, he tried crossing the street but the suspects backed up their car and hit him with the back bumper. The two men then got out of the car and attacked Mr.Bal, hitting him in the face and upper body. The victim fell to the ground and hit his head.
During the assault, one of the suspects yelled “Why are you here?” the report said. The suspects fled only after they heard another vehicle approaching.
Mr. Bal, who was taken to a local hospital, suffered abrasions to his nose and right hand and a broken collar bone. Mr. Noll said police have started a hate-related criminal investigation into the attack adding that the Fresno police would coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security and FBI to solve this case.
The attack is the latest in a line of hate crimes against Sikhs in America.
Earlier this month, a Gurudwara in California was vandalised with hateful graffiti, including the word ‘ISIS’, in the aftermath of the mass shootings in San Bernardino.
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 the 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 gurdwara and shot and killed six innocent Sikh in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
“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-Qaeda or IS or any other radical group.”
Rights group The Sikh Coalition said its thoughts and prayers go out to Bal and his family.
“We are quickly investigating and will share updates when we have them,” it said.