A 71-year-old Sikh man was brutally assaulted and spit at by two unidentified men in the US state of California, the second attack on a community member in about a week that has raised concerns over increasing incidents of hate crimes in the country.
Disturbing footage from a surveillance camera showed Sahib Singh Natt walking alone on the side of a road early morning on August 6 in Manteca, California when two men, wearing hoodies, walking from the opposite direction approached him.
Mr. Natt stopped on seeing the men and the two men were seen talking to him. Mr Singh then walked past them but they continued to follow and talk with him.
After a brief argument, one of the men, who was wearing a black hoodie, suddenly kicked Mr. Natt in the stomach and the elderly man fell down on the road, with his turban coming off.
He tried to get up and defend himself but the man again kicked him in the stomach. He fell on the road as the man who attacked him came close to him and appeared to touch his face and spit on him. They then walked away as Mr. Natt was lying on the road.
A few seconds later the man in the black hoodie ran back and viciously kicked him thrice near his head as he laid on the street. He then started leaving again, paused, turned around, and then spat at Mr. Natt.
This was the second attack on a Sikh man in about a week in California. On July 31, 50-year old Surjit Malhi was attacked while putting up campaign signs in support of incumbent Republican Congressman Jeff Denham and other local Republican candidates.
While beating Mr. Malhi, the attackers yelled "Go back to your country!" and spray painted the same message, along with hate symbols, on his truck. Local police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Sikh advocacy group The Sikh Coalition wrote on their Facebook page that while it does not have any immediate evidence that the attack on Mr. Natt was bias-related, the group is quickly investigating the details to learn more. He has received serious injuries and a photo of him shows him in a collar brace.
A report in the Manteca Bulletin said Mr. Natt has had heart and other health issues. Manteca Police say the incident appears to be a robbery attempt but they are not ruling out the possibility of it being a hate crime.
Co-founder of National Sikh Campaign Rajwant Singh said "we are disturbed and appalled by the recent attacks on Sikh-Americans. The fact that Sahib Singh was assaulted and had his turban ripped off his head should be a peaceful call to action for our community and the many supporters of our campaign - Sikhs and Non-Sikhs alike. This situation serves as a painful reminder that there is still much work to be done in bringing Americans of all faiths, colours, and communities together."
He said America is going through an "incredible time of polarisation" and hateful rhetoric has been inserted in the public domain. "The Sikh community could be the easy target of the people who are either enraged or misguided. We hope that civic sense prevails in this nation and we continue to make this nation stronger and harmonious," he added.
Executive Director of NSC Gurwin Singh Ahuja said Sikhs wear turbans to stand up against inequality, injustice and the poor treatment of the oppressed. The organization had launched the National Sikh Campaign & We Are Sikhs last year to spread awareness among Americans about their Sikhs neighbors, what the community stands for and the contributions it makes to the country.
Indian American Impact Project, a non-profit organisation focussed on Indian-American political participation, had condemned the attack on Mr. Malhi saying hate violence targeting the Indian American community and the broader South Asian American community, has surpassed post-9/11 levels.
Earlier this year, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) published a report documenting a 45 per cent increase in hate violence and rhetoric against Indian, Sikh, and South Asian Americans from the year prior.
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.