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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hate Crimes Committed Against 2 NJ Sikhs

A man and a young boy were attacked because of their religion Monday night.

A 67-year-old New Jersey man, a Sikh, was beaten and bloodied, while a 10-year-old boy was also attacked.

"It shouldn't happen to anyone," Ajit Singh Chima said.

Battered and brave is 67-year-old Chima, talking about how his usual morning exercise on Carteret St. Monday suddenly turned into a violent exercise in hate.


"I said, 'what do you want?' And he hit me," Chima said. "A blow on the nose knocked me to the ground, [then] he kept punching and punching."

The man who jumped him was in his twenties, had a medium complexion and may be the same suspect in another bias attack on a young boy three weeks earlier.

10 year old Gagandeep Singh was walking home from school. His main injury is something he does not want anyone to see – to his hair, which Sikh boys and men consider a gift from god and keep long.

"He came out of nowhere," Singh said. "He just came up behind me, threw me on the floor, held me with his feet and cut my hair with the knife or scissor. Then I jumped a few fences and ran away because I was so scared."

Singh could not see the face of the suspect, who wore a mask. Because both victims are Sikh and because there was no theft, police believe the motive is hatred, based on the victims' religious beliefs.

"The Sikh community in Carteret is very tight-knit, numbering at about a thousand people. The question members have for the attacker or attackers is why.

"Why did you cut my hair?" Singh asks. "What do you want from Punjabis?"

Gagandeep's sister Jasvir Kaur summed the problem up.

"We respect other religions, and we want them to respect us too." [Link]

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