NEW YORK: Across the country United Sikhs organization is joining the Sikh community to rally for justice after two Sikh American men were shot dead in separate incidents in California.
The bruised body of 68-year-old Subag Singh was found in a canal in Fresno last Monday. He’d been missing since June 23. In another incident, 20-year-old Simranjit Singh was shot and killed outside of the Sacramento gas station where he worked the following day. Reports suggest he was shot by men that had previously reportedly assaulted his co-worker. One of the three suspects is in custody. Investigators are not likely to pursue hate crime charges, but that does not ease the fears of a community that often feels targeted.
“The community is shaken, but it’s also empowered. We’re no longer asking for answers, we’re demanding them,” Manvinder Singh, Fresno, California, Director of United Sikhs organization, said. “We will not stand idle while Sikh Americans are being taken [away] and threatened.”
United Sikhs organization has requested intervention and follow-up from the civil rights division of the Department of Justice. It is also working with community leaders in Sacramento and Fresno to ensure the safety and security of the community is given importance and addressed by the law enforcement officials.
In July, United Sikhs organization members discussed hate crimes and violence with officials from the Department of Justice, members of the FBI Crimes Unit, and various congressmen and women. One of those congresswomen was Zoe Lofgren, the U.S. Representative for California’s 19th congressional district. Lofgren reassured those in attendance that she would work with other members of the Sikh Caucus to help push forth various measures that are important to the US Sikh community.
“We find that the communities that suffer the violence are not always encouraged to speak up. Or in some cases they feel unprotected by those authorities who have sworn to protect them. This makes them easier targets. That’s where we come in, we are fighting on their behalf,” Hardayal Singh of United Sikhs organization added.
United Sikhs organization is encouraging its supporters to contact its organization directly if they, or anyone they know has experienced violence of any kind because of their ethnicity or religion. They can do so by following the prompts here.
“We will continue to push for the US Census Bureau to allow Sikhs to self-identify in the 2020 Census. This will help ensure hate crimes and violence are fully and adequately reported and the perpetrators are prosecuted accordingly,” said Hardayal.