MODESTO, California. – Police said Monday that they are looking for two men who beat a Sikh man and painted in a neo-Nazi symbol on his truck in what they are calling a hate crime.
Surjit Malhi told KOVR-TV that he set up the campaign signs for local Republicans in the night when two men ambushed him, throwing sand in his eyes for hitting him in the head, neck and shoulders on July 31 in Keyes, California, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of San Francisco.
Malhi, 50, said that the men shouted at him: “go back to your country” for the spraying of the same message and a white supremacist symbol on his truck. The men wore black hoods and had blue eyes, ” he said.
“I am American, 100 percent,” Malhi said. “This is my country. If you are a real American and you love America, you should not do that. That is not the American way.”
The symbol of the men painted on his truck is the white supremacist version of the Celtic Cross, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam multiple endocrine neoplasia told The Modesto bee that the attack is being investigated as a hate crime, saying: “any despicable criminal act.”
Malhi said that he believes that the turban he wore saved his life during the attack, because it softens the blows to his head.
“It’s very scary,” said Malhi, who said he has experienced headaches and dizziness since the attack.
The Sikh Coalition reported an increase in violence and discrimination against Sikh-Americans after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, with more than 300 cases reported in the U.S. in just one month.
In March, the collation said, there is still an “alarming recent spike” in hate crimes against the Sikhs, with an estimated a week since the beginning of 2018.
In January, two men were sentenced to three years in prison for the beating of a Sikh man in the San Francisco Bay Area. In March, a Sikh man in Seattle said a man shot him in the arm on his driveway after telling him to go back to his country.
In 2012, a man shot and killed six Sikh worshippers and four others injured in a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, wisconsin before killing himself.