Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sikh assaulted in hate attacks in Queens


India Post News Service

Monday, 01.26.2009, 11:02pm (GMT-7)

NEW YORK: In yet another disturbing instance of hate crime, Jasmir Singh, a 21-year-old Sikh college student was stabbed in his left eye during an unprovoked attack on last Sunday outside a grocery store in Queens, New York by three young men wielding a glass bottle.

Jasmir sustained injuries to his left-eye, head, face, and back, and has not regained his vision after undergoing a five hour surgery when he received 18 stitches on his eye. Police arrested two of the suspected attackers nearby, but the third remains at large.

The two arrested have been charged with assault in the first degree and robbery in the first degree, both serious felony charges. Sikh advocacy group United Sikhs is working with the NYPD Community Affairs Liaison to urge police to charge the attackers additionally with hate/bias crime charges.

Mejindarpal Kaur, Legal Director of United Sikhs commented, “It never gets easier each time we have to assist a victim of hate crime. The crime is horrific and the victim suffers alone both physically and emotionally.

We will assist police and the family to ensure that the perpetrators are vigorously prosecuted for a hate crime, and that the courts will send a strong signal that they treat such crimes very seriously.” The incident took place at about 4am on Jan 18 on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights.

Jasmir and his friend, Pierre Dizon, were returning home when they were confronted by three young men. Jasmir and Pierre attempted to walk away from the three men, but they would not allow them to leave.

The men taunted Jasmir about his hair and beard, initially asking him why he did not cut it, and then threatening him that they were going to cut it. Jasmir and Pierre were able to enter the store to ask for assistance and call the police.

The police department was on the phone when the three men entered the store, pulled Jasmir outside and began to beat him with a broken glass bottle. Jasmir was hit on his left eye causing it to rupture and bleed profusely, and they continued to beat him on his back, front torso, and head causing lacerations and bleeding.

Pierre Dizon, of Filipino origin, was not attacked and escaped unharmed. Police arrested two of the attackers after they were found hiding behind a house nearby, but the third remains at large.

The two arrested are aged 21 years old and 16 years old, and one is of Hispanic decent and the other South Asian.

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