US Muslim group offers reward in shooting of two SikhsMarch 7th, 2011 - 11:08 am ICT by IANS
Washington, March 7 (IANS) A Muslim civil rights group has announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot two elderly Sikh men, killing one, in a Northern California suburb.
The Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) noted the possibility that a hate crime was committed against the victims who were out for a walk in Elk Grove when they were attacked around 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Surinder Singh, 65, was killed while his friend, Gurmej Atwal was wounded and remains in critical condition, according to local media reports.
Basim Elkarra, the executive director of the local CAIR chapter, said that bearded Sikh men who wear turbans are often mistaken for Muslims by people who commit hate crimes against them.
“The Muslim community offers its condolences and support to the Sikh community in this time of sorrow,” Elkarra said in a press statement Sunday.
“At present, we have no evidence to indicate there was a hate or bias motivation for this crime; however, the obvious Sikh appearance of the men, including the traditional Dastar headwear and lack of any other apparent motive, increasingly raise that possibility,” Elk Grove Police Chief Robert M. Lehner stated.
Members of both families are just as baffled as investigators.
“Anybody who would do these things, I don’t know why,” Harvinder Singh, son of victim Surinder Singh, told Sacramento Bee newspaper.
Surinder Singh was a truck driver who had worked in both India and Libya before moving to the United States about five years ago. He had recently survived his fourth heart attack.
Gurmej Atwal moved to the US in 2001, and the family settled in Elk Grove in 2003.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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