A hate crime charge has been registered against an American teenager who brutally attacked a 53-year-old Sikh man in the face a week ago sparking outrage among community members, in addition to the previous felony charges slapped on him.
Inderjit Singh Mukker was called a “terrorist” and “Bin Laden” by the assailant in what is being described as a hate crime on September 8 in Chicago’s Darien suburb.
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin announced that the Willowbrook teen has been charged with a hate crime, in addition to the previous charges of felony aggravated battery, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The state’s attorney filed an amended juvenile petition to include one count of hate crime, a Class 4 felony, to the juvenile petition, Berlin said in a statement.
The release said the decision was made after further investigation and the discovery of additional evidence, and came just hours before a Sikh organisation planned a rally and news conference demanding the hate crime charge.
The Sikh Coalition applauded the decision and said the coalition’s legal team had a meeting yesterday with members of the state’s attorney’s office and provided “additional evidence and information that showed hatred to be the primary motivation behind the crime,” the report said.
On Friday, the state’s attorney’s office announced that five felony counts of aggravated battery had been filed against the teenager.
Mukker, a US citizen and father of two, was on his way to a grocery store and was repeatedly cut off by the assailant driving a car.
Mukker pulled over to the side of the road to let him pass, but the driver instead pulled in front of his car and aggressively approached Mukker’s vehicle.
The assailant then reached into the car and repeatedly punched Mukker in the face, causing him to lose consciousness, bleed profusely and suffer a fractured cheekbone and a laceration to his cheek.
He was rushed to the hospital, where he received six stitches, treatment for lacerations, bruising and swelling.
Sikh Coalition has said the attack, on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, is just the latest in a line of violent attacks on Sikhs in America.
Last August, Sandeep Singh, a Sikh father in New York City, was run over after being called a “terrorist”.
In 2012, a gunman walked into a Gurudwara and shot and killed six innocent Sikh worshippers in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.