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Hate-fueled attack on Sikh condemned

September 15
21:52 2015

sikh mukker-webCHICAGO: The DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office has announced that felony aggravated battery charges have been filed in juvenile court against a Willowbrook teenager accused of beating up 53-year-old Sikh Inderjit Singh Mukker in Darien on Tuesday September 8.

The incident occurred near Cass Avenue and 69th about 5-15 pm. The DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin said in a statement, they found an injured Inderjit Mukker in the front of his car with “cuts and bruises on his cheeks.”

Berlin said Mukker and the teenager, who has been charged with the crime which was allegedly triggered by road rage at some point. “Following the altercation, Mukker and the defendant (allegedly) pulled their vehicles to the side of the road, where the teenager exited his vehicle and approached Mukker’s” Berlin said. “Following an exchange of words, the teenager allegedly punched Mukker in the face as he sat in his vehicle.”

Mukker gave a description of the person who assaulted him and the license plate number of the car he was driving. “Regardless of what was said or done by either of the parties allegedly involved in this incident, physical attacks will not be tolerated and will be met with the full force of the law,” Berlin said. “People have to remember that if you find yourself involved in a traffic altercation, stay calm and don’t let your emotions get the better of you.”

Sources close to Mukker said that Mukker was driving to a grocery store on South Cass Avenue when another driver began yelling at him, calling him a “terrorist” and “Bin Laden” and telling Mukker to “go back to your country.”

SAAPRI wants justice done South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago are outraged by the heinous, xenophobic attack on Inderjit Singh Mukker.

“SAAPRI strongly condemns hate-fueled violence, racism, and anti-immigrant actions and rhetoric.

Racially motivated violence diminishes our whole society,” said Reema Kapur, Executive Director of SAAPRI. “Community organizations and the South Asian community must stand together in solidarity against hate and violence and promote compassion and respect for diversity.”
SAAPRI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization established in 2001 to improve the lives of South Asian Americans in the Chicago area, by using research to formulate equitable and socially responsible public policy.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago is the leading pan-Asian, multi-issue organization in the Midwest dedicated to empowering the Asian American community through advocacy by utilizing education, research, and coalition-building.

Civil rights of victim
Upset at the Darien incident, Indian Americans led by the Federation of Indian Associations organized a media and civil meet in Lombard, a south west suburb of Chicago on Thursday September 10.
“No American should be afraid to practice his/her faith in our country,” Mukker, the victim, said in a statement. Although he could not make to the press conference due to his serious health condition, he sent his father, Sadhu Singh Rikhiraj.

“Hate begets hate and love begets love,” Rikhiraj shared his saintly advice despite having a tragic family crisis at home. “We love this country that has guaranteed our freedom of religion,” he added.

Founder President of FIA, Sunil Shah, strongly condemned the ongoing horrific pattern of intolerance, abuse and violence against Sikhs and other minority communities in this country. “We must work hard for our rights and better America. This is a wakeup call for us,” Shah urged.

“We are being mistaken for terrorists just because we wear a beard and a turban,” said the victim’s friend Rajinder Singh Mago.

Onkar Singh Sangha, FIA Founder and current president, expressed his deepest concern on the continuous hatred perpetrated against Sikh Americans. “People need to be educated about various ethnic communities and respect for each other,” he said.

Reporters from ABC, CBS, NBC, WGN, FOX, UNIVISION, TV ASIA, Chicago Tribune, and Daily Herald were on hand at the Viceroy of India Restaurant and Banquets in Lombard. “Hate is no longer a foreign disease like Malaria. It is infecting our own neighborhood. Hate travels like a heat wave,” said Moon Khan, FIA Vice President.

Messages were also read from other faith groups. Neil Khot, FIA Vice President, brought a message of support from the American Jewish community leaders. “In this difficult hour, Jewish community is with all of you.” FIA Treasurer Hitesh Gandhi advocated for zero tolerance and urged the Darien Police Department to conduct speedy investigation.

Speaking on behalf of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, TV Asia anchor, Vandana Jhingan, urged the community to unite and support each other’s efforts in encountering the issue of hate.

Surendra Ullal & Ramesh Soparawala

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