Enraged at the recent attack on a Sikh youth who lost sight in the left eye after being stabbed by three men, community leaders and advocacy groups have mounted pressure on police in New York to investigate if the assailants could be charged with hate crime.
21-year-old Jasmir Singh was attacked on Sunday last outside a grocery store in Jackson Heights in Queens suburb of New York City. After the attack in the predominantly Indian neighbourhood, two of the assailants were arrested and charged with assault and robbery in the first degree, while police were on look out for the third suspect.
Singh, who was stabbed in the eye, back and chest, was discharged from hospital yesterday and hate crimes task force commander Michael Osgood is likely to interview him in a week's time to determine whether the suspects can be charged with hate crime.
Singh has alleged that he was targeted because of his long hair and beard but police still maintains that it was a case of robbery and assault.
"The attackers questioned me about my hair and threatened to cut it," Singh said at a press conference outside Elmhurst Hospital soon he was discharged.
Lawmaker Jose Peralta, who was present a the press conference, urged police to investigate if the attack was racially motivated.
Representatives of United Sikh, an international advocacy group, Sikh community leaders and inter-faith activists met investigators to voice their concern about the investigation.
The investigators assured them that they would conduct a full probe into the case and interview Singh again.