Assailants of Sikh in US escape hate crime chargeMarch 22nd, 2008 - 7:59 pm ICT by admin
New York, March 22 (IANS) A jury in Oregon has declined to indict three men for committing a hate crime when they tore off and did away with a Sikh trucker’s turban. Instead, the culprits have been indicted on the lesser charges of harassment and theft in the third degree, disappointing the Sikh community. “Burning a cross on an African American’s lawn is not a mere act of vandalism, and stealing a Sikh’s turban is not a misdemeanour theft. They are both hate crimes,” said Amardeep Singh, executive director of the Sikh Coalition, commenting on the verdict that came earlier this week.
On Aug 5 last year, when the victim, Ranjit Singh, was leaving a convenience store at a truck stop in Oakland, Oregon, three men approached him and tore off his turban before driving away.
Within a month, the assailants were arrested and charged with hate crimes.
Now the jury has decided that evidence is not sufficient to move forward with a hate crime prosecution.
In a press release, the Sikh Coalition has expressed disappointment that the dollar value of Ranjit Singh’s turban arose as an issue during the jury proceedings, while “the turban is a priceless article of faith for Sikhs”.
Tags: amardeep singh, assailants, convenience store, culprits, disappointment, dollar value, executive director, harassment, hate crimes, jury proceedings, oakland oregon, prosecution, sikh community, sikhs, third degree, three men, trucker, turban, vandalism