A 20-year-old man, accused of pulling the beard of a Sikh professor in the US, has been arrested and charged with hate crime for the brutal assault during which the attackers called him “Osama” and “terrorist”.
Christian Morales was arrested on Friday night and charged with agg ravated harassment and committing a hate crime in connection with the attack on Prabhjot Singh, a professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Morales was produced in court on Saturday.
While the investig ation is still on, he is the only person in custody, the New York police department said.
Singh, 31, was assaulted last September by a group of 20-30 young men while he was walking in the Harlem neighbourhood near here.
The father of one had been “brutally attacked” and was rushed to the hospital with severe bruising, swelling, small puncture in his elbow and fracture in his lower jaw.
While in hospital, Singh had told the police that his assailants had taunted him and beat him, calling him “Osama” and “terrorist” as they pulled at his long beard. He was repeatedly punched in the face and head.
Singh was returning from dinner, dropping his wife and one-year-old son at home before going for a walk.
In 2012, Singh had written an op-ed in the New York Times days after six Sikh persons were killed in a tragic shooting at a Wisconsin gurdwara in August.
“We must do away with a flawed and incomplete assumption of ‘mistaken identity’ regarding Sikhs; until we do, we will all be the ones who are mistaken,” he had written in the op-ed titled ‘How Hate Gets Counted’.