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Sikh Owned Restaurant Vandalized with Racist Graffiti

"This disturbing hate attack once again demonstrates that growing white supremacy, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and ra...

Sikh American Owned Restaurant Vandalized with White Supremacist Messages
By Gujari Singh | June 23, 2020 

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Washington D.C. -  Yesterday, June 22, 2020, Baljit Singh, a Sikh American owner of India Palace walked into his restaurant to find it broken in, ransacked, and vandalized with white supremacist obscenities and hate speech with an estimated $100,000 in damages. Mr. Singh, who has owned the restaurant since 2013 and has never experienced this type of racism or harassment, immediately notified the police and the FBI, with the police arriving 2.5 hours later. 

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“SALDEF condemns this heinous act of cowardice and hatred. We will work with Baljit Singh, the Santa Fe Police, and the FBI to ensure they thoroughly investigate this crime, and that the perpetrators of this hate crime are found and prosecuted under the appropriate hate/bias motivated statutes,” said Kiran Kaur Gill SALDEF Executive Director. “This kind of hate and violence is unacceptable and swift action must be taken to ensure the safety and security of all Americans.” 

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the white nationalist movement has been emboldened since 2017 and grew for a second straight year in 2019, as the number of hate groups in the movement rose to 155 – a 55 percent increase since 2017.  With hate groups on the rise endangering peaceful communities, SALDEF calls upon the Department of Justice to pursue this as a federal hate crime. 

“Santa Fe is a peaceful town, and the Sikh community has lived here, beautifully integrated, since the 60s,” said SALDEF Board Member Simran Singh, who lives minutes away from the restaurant. “Tensions have flared recently with the reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement and the removal of statues associated with Spanish colonizers of this area, who committed a number of atrocities. Nevertheless, we are seeing an outpouring of love and support around the city and in my experience, our neighbors love and appreciate us, as we love and appreciate them.”

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SALDEF has seen an unprecedented rise in hate crimes including an attack on April 29, 2020,  Sikh American, Mr Lakhwant Singh was brutally attacked by a customer Eric Breeman in Lakewood, CO.  Mr. Lakhwant Singh was told to “go back to your country,” while being attacked, no formal hate crime charges have been brought against the attacker. 

How to help

SALDEF will continue to update the community on any new information regarding this incident. In the meantime, this is an active investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Santa Fe Police at (505) 428-3710.

Report any bias or hate incidents to SALDEF immediately. Every incident not reported, investigated or prosecuted emboldens the perpetrators.

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Because of their turbans, Sikhs are sometimes mistaken for Islamists or Iranian clergy who are represented in the media with turbans and are attacked.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement, "This disturbing hate attack once again demonstrates that growing white supremacy, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and racism target every minority community and must be challenged by people of all races, faiths and backgrounds."

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