Indian Man Says He's Not Intimidated
A man recently hand-delivered an anonymous seven-page message to the Madison Pantry -- a gas station and convenience store owned by Jaswant Singh Banwait -- and walked out.
Store manager Tim Bedwell read the letter and was reluctant to show it to his boss. It asked whether Banwait was a Muslim terrorist.
"How do I differentiate," the letter read, "between the true Arab/Muslim Americans and the Arab Muslim terrorists ...?"
Banwait, who wears a turban, is neither Arab nor Muslim. He is Indian and a Sikh.
"They have nothing to fear from me," Banwait told 6News' Derrik Thomas Friday afternoon. "If they have questions, they can come straight to me. They can call me anytime."
Banwait recently purchased the Madison Pantry, located in Edgewood in Madison County. Some customers have rallied to his defense.
"I don't have anything against these people. I'm just sorry our community is kind of getting a bad name," customer Steve Douglas said.
Bedwell, a military veteran, said some people have questioned why he would work for Banwait.
"They've told me I'm committing treason. They've told me I'm destroying America by working for my boss," Bedwell said.
Bedwell said the letter reflected ignorance.
"The people, they haven't given him a chance to express himself or tell anything about him," Bedwell said.
The letter concluded by telling Banwait in bold letters: "YOU WORRY ME."
Banwait, who also owns stores in Indianapolis, New Castle and Kokomo, said he is not intimidated and will continue to operate the Edgewood store.
"America is a land of opportunity. That's why I came here," Banwait said.
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