82-year-old Sikh man beaten up for looking like a Muslim still awaits justice

Singh was attacked outside a gurdwara in California where he was preparing free meals to give to the homeless


Web Desk June 02, 2015
PHOTO: ABC/INDEPENDENT

Two years ago, an 82-year-old Sikh grandfather was brutally beaten up with a steel pipe by a California man for looking like one of “those people”.

Piara Singh was attacked outside his gurdwara in Fresno, California, where he was preparing free meals to give to the homeless. Singh suffered a punctured lung and head injuries and was left lying in a pool of blood, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Read: Sikh man breaks religious protocol to save child's life

After two years, members of Singh’s Sikh community said that while his physical wounds healed, they were still waiting for closure in the case due to a third delay in sentencing.

The attacker, Gilbert Garcia Jr, who was 29-years-old at the time of the 2013 incident, was initially charged with attempted murder but admitted elder abuse and hate crime in February of this year.


Gilbert Garcia Jr. PHOTO: ABC/INDEPENDENT

As the community waits for Garcia to at last be sentenced, community advocate Ike Grewal told local KFSN news that the attack was all the more troubling because it is believed the attacker confused Singh for a ‘radical’ Muslim.

“Sikhs have been attacked all over the United States after 9/11 and this is not acceptable because we have been mistaken as radicals when we are not,” Grewal said.

Read: Where are the Sikhs?

Speaking to the LA Times shortly after the incident itself, Singh’s nephew Charanjit Sihota said that police told him they found Garcia hiding behind a tree in a neighbour’s garden, and that as he was arrested, he shouted that he hated “those people” and wanted to bomb their places of worship.

Legal expert Tony Capozzi said that this can still be classified as hate crime.

“His hatred was the focus, the driving force, towards that belief".

"And the fact that the victim wasn't of the religion he thought it was is of no consequence."

This article originally appeared in The Independent

COMMENTS (9)

akki | 6 years ago | Reply @Singh: @singh: Awaiting a punchline with bated breath.
cautious | 6 years ago | Reply This guy was caught shortly after the attack and has remained in jail the entire time. Garcia pleaded "no contest" in February, admitting to elder abuse and a hate crime. He's facing 13 years in jail. Sounds like justice to me. . http://abc30.com/news/fresno-hate-crime-motivated-by-mistaken-religious-identity/755535/
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