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Sunday, 13 March 2011

FBI Joins Probe To Nab “Hate-Crime” Killers While Sikh Community Offers $30,000 Reward (USA)

A troubled Sikh community shocked by the shooting of their two elderly members offered a reward of $30,000 for any information leading to the culprits, as the local police said they suspected it to be a hate crime and has called in the FBI to join the manhunt.

The West Sacramento Police in California said they suspect that the tradition turbans worn by the Surinder Singh, 68, and Gurmej Atwal, 78, could have become beacons for an attack on them.

“Because they sported the turbans they might have been singled out,” the police said. The Elk Grove police department said that last week’s shootout would be the first targeting the Sikhs in the city if it turns out to be the hate crime. They also said FBI had been called in as it was suspected to be a hate crime.

While Surinder Singh died on the spot, Atwal is still reported to be in a critical condition and a deeply shocked community in the area have joined together to offer a reward of $30,000 for any information leading to the arrest of the culprits, who shot the two on March 4. This amount is over and above the $5,000 reward offered by a top Islamic body, who strongly condemned the attack.

Sikh men in beards and turbans are often targeted for discrimination by bigots who mistake them for Muslims, the Council on American-Islamic Council-Sacramenton Valley’s Executive Director, Basim Elkarra said.

“The Muslim community offers its condolences and support to the Sikh community in this time of sorrow, he said.

About 100 religious leaders, including ones from the Sikh community gathered at a Gurudwara in California, announcing a rise in the award money to informants that would lead to arrest of those responsible.

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