A14 sPeCIAL/tAKING ON HAte India Abroad September 25, 2015
“Iwas pretty furious, like how could this be a road rage incident?” Inderjit Singh mukker’s son, Kanwar Singh mukker, told IndiaAbroadabout his reaction to the initial charges. “he did have an intent — he was chasing my dad down and my dad was just trying to ignore the situation.” Kanwar, 20, is a student at the University of Illinois-chicago and was on campus when his moth- er called him saying, ‘Somebody beat up your dad.’ he said he was immediately filled with anger and shock. “I was like, ‘Woah, who would do this?’” he recalled. “I felt helpless. I took an Uber down to the hospital and saw my dad covered in blood with both of his cheeks swollen up. I was extremely powerless and thinking, ‘how could this happen to my dad?’ he’s such a good, hardworking person. he’s an american. and he’s very patriotic. It was surprising.” Still, Kanwar said that he had no doubt that what happened to his father was an instance of hate vio- lence based on his knowledge of the way much of america perceives his family’s identity. “I’m happy that the State’s attorney finally came to his senses.” Despite the acknowledgment of the bias and bigotry that led to the violence that hit his family, Kanwar said he refused to feel less safe or intimidated: “actually, I feel the total opposite. Since this occurred, I feel like people are going to be a lot more aware of who Sikhs are, and that’s really important. We’re not afraid. I’m not going to let this inci- dent, even though it happened to my father, bring me down. I’m going to lift this story up as high as I can so it can reach as many people as pos- sible.” — Chaya Babu Kewal Singh, son of Bhai Piara Singh, can’t forget the incidents on the morning of may 5, 2013. It was the day Gilbert Garcia, Jr, a 31 year old, beat up his 82-year-old father out- side the nanaksar Sikh temple in Fresno while he was returning from early prayer service. When Kewal arrived to pick up his father, he saw Garcia hitting him with the rod on his head. Following Garcia, Jr’s sentencing, Kewal told IndiaAbroad, “I saw my daddy lying on the road, face down… We had lost hope of his survival, but he is a strong man.” he had suf- fered a punctured lung and a fractured jaw and had to have staples in his head and 25 stitches as a result of the attack. he said, “Garcia committed a crime. he has no right to hit an old man, who was on a morn- ing walk and unarmed.” asked how his father was coping two years after the attack, Kewal said, “my father was a healthy man before the tragedy and even used to go jogging, but now he has changed. he is suffering from high blood pressure now. the only the problem is sometimes he shivers and doesn’t stay out at night.” — Ritu Jha
September 15 — the day marking the first post-9/11 hate attack on a
‘We’Re not aFRaID’
Sikh American — was an important day this year in the community’s
uphill battle against hate. Chaya Babu and ritu Jha report.
Calling it what it is:
A Hate Crime
After a weekend of outrage and disappointment from the Sikh American community and much of the broader public, the DuPage County Prosecutor’s Office did a surprising reversal September 14, of their earlier deci- sion not to push hate crime charges in the September 8
attack on Inderjit Singh Mukker, a Sikh man in Darien, Illinois.
After being provided with further evidence as well as greater context about violence and discrimination faced by Sikhs, DuPage
County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin decided the hate crime designation was indeed applicable in the 8 assault.
The change came after support and pressure from the community, specifically the work and advocacy of The Sikh Coalition, a
national organization that aims to ensure that Sikhs can practice
Inderjit Singh mukker speaks about the hate crime committed against him, September 8.
Kanwar Singh mukker, Inderjit Singh mukker’s son, speaks at the rally.