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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

World

Indian subway victim in New York had put up a fight
PTI
New York, January 20, 2013
First Published: 12:09 IST(20/1/2013)
Last Updated: 12:19 IST(20/1/2013)

An Indian immigrant, who was shoved off a subway platform to his death in front of a train in New York by an American woman because she "hated" Hindus and Muslims, had tried to put up a fight and "shake off" his attacker.

Erika Menendez, 31, has been indicted on charges of murder as a hate crime by a grand jury and found mentally fit to stand trial in the death of 46 year-old Sunando Sen.

According to an interview Menendez gave to the New York Post from a prison in New York, even though the attack on Sen was too sudden, he had still tried to save himself briefly before he fell onto the tracks.

"My mind was just racing that day. I was mad. I was just angry," Menendez said. "I was homeless. I was hungry. I was fighting with my boyfriend. He (Sen) came running up the stairs, and I just got up and pushed him. He was trying to shake me off," she said.

"Glassy-eyed, greasy-haired and clad in a prison jumpsuit," Menendez said she had pushed Sen onto the subway tracks in front of an oncoming train last month because she thought he was a Muslim and she had harboured a hatred for Hindus and Muslims since the September 11 terror attacks.

In her interview, she said after the terror attacks, she was mad at Muslims not because of the number of people killed in the World Trade Center but because she had liked the buildings.

"I'm not mad about the people (killed in the 9/11 attacks). I'm mad because I liked the buildings," Menendez said. "I just wanted to hurt Muslims and Hindus ever since (9/11)."

The Post said Menendez was "emotionless" during the interview but became animated when she spoke of other violent run-ins with people she believed were Muslims or Hindus.

"I have been beating up Muslims and Hindus for a long time. I just want to hurt them. I would punch them," she said, adding that for her Sen had stood out from the other riders because of his ethnic appearance.

Menendez also said she might not have pushed Sen on the night of December 27 if she had had some drugs.

"If I smoked a blunt that day, I would not have pushed him," Menendez said.

Indicted on charges of one count of second-degree murder as a hate crime and two counts of second-degree murder, Menendez faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

She has been ordered to return to court on January 29, when she would be arraigned on the indictment.

She remains held without bail.

Sen, who had owned a printing business in the city, was cremated on New Year's eve in the presence of friends and business partners.


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