New Jersey Sikhs demand action against hate crime incidents

November 8th, 2008 - 9:13 am ICT by IANS  

Jersey City (New Jersey), Nov 8 (IANS) Agitated by two incidents of hate crime in less than a month, the Sikh community of New Jersey has demanded immediate action by police to nab the attackers.A delegation of Sikh community met the Mayor of Carteret City in New Jersey where the incident happened, urging him to take a comprehensive response to the two incidents of hate crime against them.

In a meeting with Mayor Daniel J Reiman early this week, Sikh community members feared such incidents could increase if no action is taken against those responsible for it.

The first incident was reported Oct 8 when Gagandeep Singh, a grade five student, was attacked by an unidentified assailant who according to the victim was wearing a mask. Several punches were knocked at him.

The second incident occurred on Oct 30 when, Ajit Singh Chima, 69, was again hit by punches several times on his face and other parts of the body by an unidentified assailant. Cheema suffered several fractures around his eyes and jaw.

Police said both the incidents are being investigated as hate crimes. No arrest has been made so far; which has agitated the Sikh community.

During their meeting with the Carteret mayor early this week, the community leaders alleged the incidents of hate crime against them have increased in recent months. However, only a few of them have been reported as people are afraid of registering a case and reporting to the police, they said.

Carteret has an estimated population of 1,000 Sikhs, while there are about 25,000 Sikhs in New Jersey.

Washington-based Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund has said that they intend to take up the issue with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Meanwhile, two local gurudwaras have announced a an award of $5,000 for providing information that could lead to the arrest of the assailants.

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