Desi Talk - page 6

By Ela Dutt
fter years of lobbying
the Indian-American
community achieved
its objective of getting
the FBI and the Justice
Department to include
Hindus and Sikhs in hate crime
data collection. Sikhs, who bore
the brunt of hate crimes carried
out a concerted lobbying cam-
paign demanding they be listed as
a category for FBI reporting. Their
campaign took on an urgency fol-
lowing with the Aug. 5, 2012 mas-
sacre at a gurdwara in Oak Creek,
Wisconsin when a white suprema-
cist shot down six Sikh devotees.
“Until now, Anti-Sikh hate
crimes were not recognized by the
FBI,” Rajdeep Singh, director of
Law and Policy at the Sikh
Coalition, noted in a press release.
“Year after year, Sikh Americans
were being targeted for harass-
ment and violence because of
their distinct identity,” he said
adding that while this new recog-
nition by the FBI was welcome,
more refinements were needed to
improve the system.
Those who led the campaign to
get law enforcement to include
data on hate crime against Sikhs
and Hindus, included several law-
makers, especially those repre-
senting districts where a signifi-
cant number of Indian-Americans
and South Asians live, viz., parts of
NewYork, New Jersey and
California. Several organizations
including the Hindu American
Foundation, the Sikh American
Legal Defense and Education
Fund, South Asian Americans
Leading Together, and the South
Asian Legal Defense and
Education Fund, lauded the new
regulations adopted by the FBI
and the Justice Department.
Organizers of the campaign got
together on Capitol Hill to cele-
brate what they describe as the
final step in the long-fought effort
to encourage the federal govern-
ment to finally begin tracking and
quantifying hate crimes against
these at-risk communities. “Time
and time again, we have seen
vicious attacks on members of
Sikh, Hindu and Arab American
communities,” Rep. Joe Crowley,
D-NewYork, is quoted saying in a
press release. Tracking hate crimes
is more than just putting a num-
ber in a column, he said. It equips
law enforcement agencies with
resources needed to help prevent
such attacks.
Since 9/11, when an Indian-ori-
gin gas station owner became the
first victim of anti-Muslim hate
crime, South Asians have occa-
sionally been mistaken as Middle-
Easterners. Just in the last few
months several hate crime inci-
dents took place in quick succes-
sion - an Islamic Center, a Hindu
temple, two Muslim families and
an Indian grandfather had been
the target of hate.
“I hope that the community
will feel more comfortable coming
forward and reporting incidents
so that we can track the true
extent of this problem,” Rep.
Grace Meng, D- NewYork, said in
a press release referring to the new
regulations for collecting date on
hate bias crimes.
Rep. Ami Bera, D-California,
the only Indian-American in
Congress, said he had been cam-
paigning for this since getting
elected more than two years ago.
He lauded the Justice Department
and the FBI for the formal inclu-
sion of Sikhs, Hindus and Arab-
Americans in the FBI training
manual and the new effort to
track crimes against them, step
which would confront hatred and
increase public awareness. “This is
a big win for these communities,
and a huge win for justice,” Bera
said.
According to Rep. Judy Chu, D-
California, there has been a more
than 300 percent increase in hate
crimes in California alone post-
9/11, mostly against Arab, Muslim,
Sikh, and South Asian Americans.
“These are crimes of the worst
kind that make entire communi-
ties fearful,” Chu noted.
A
– that’s all you need to know
6
April 3, 2015
NATIONAL AFFAIRS
FromNews Dispatches
A
Massachusetts man who
was exercising naked in
plain view of the street
was arrested March 24 for inde-
cent exposure. Kaushikkumar
Patel, 58, a retired Taunton
schools employee, allegedly was
caught in the act, by a pair of
undercover Taunton police
detectives March 26, while he
was jumping up and down
while holding a set of dumb-
bells.
His arrest came one day after
seven elementary school stu-
dents on a bus heading to
Edmund Hatch Bennett School
told their driver they had just
seen a “completely naked” man
in the front door of his house,
the Boston Herald reported.
Patel was released on his own
recognizance by
Judge Michael
Vitale after being
arraigned onMarch
24 in Taunton
District Court on a
single count of
indecent exposure.
He’s due back for a
pretrial hearing on
April 27.
Taunton
Superintendent Julie Hackett
issued an email alert March 24
afternoon to parents assuring
them that “there is no threat to
our students,” as a result of the
March 23 morning incident,
South Coast Today reported.
Hackett’s email said Patel retired
“a few years ago.”
Meanwhile one of Patel’s
neighbor told FOX25
that Patel is embar-
rassed. “He’s embar-
rassed by it. He’s upset
by it. He’s sorry it hap-
pened. He never
intended anything like
that to happen,” Elin
Hardy said.
Defending Patel, she
said his naked work-
outs were a common
thing and that he likes to feel
the sun.
“I know a lot of people think
it’s weird. Yes it’s weird, but
there’s a lot of things in the
world that are weird,” she
added.
Former Massachusetts School Employee
Arrested for Working Out Naked
Jonathan Kaminsky
– NEWORLEANS
A
U.S. federal grand jury has
indicted an Alabama police
officer captured on video
throwing an Indian man to the
ground on a charge related to the
use of unreasonable force, federal
prosecutors said March 27.
Eric Parker, 26, then an officer
with the Madison Police
Department, was seen on video
recorded from inside a patrol vehi-
cle on Feb. 6 throwing Sureshbhai
Patel to the ground after attempt-
ing to question him.
Patel has said he was left par-
tially paralyzed by the officer’s
actions. His lawyer says Patel
speaks no English and moved to
northern Alabama from India
about two weeks before the inci-
dent to help his son’s family care
for a young child.
Patel last month filed a civil
rights complaint against Parker,
another officer and the city of
Madison, alleging that race played
a role in the incident. The Madison
Police Department said it has rec-
ommended Parker’s termination,
which is currently under appeal.
The grand jury indicted Parker
late onMarch 26, the U.S. Justice
Department said.
– Reuters
Alabama Policeman
Recorded Throwing Indian
Man to Ground Indicted
Lawmakers, Activists Celebrate Victory in New FBI Hate Crime Reporting
Rajdeep Singh, director of Law and Policy at the Sikh Coalition welcomes the inclusion of Sikh, Hindu, and Arab American communities in the Department of Justice’s hate crimes track-
ing effort. Seen from left are, front row, Reps. Grace Meng, D-New York; Ami Bera, D- California; Joseph Crowley, D-New York; and John Garamendi, D-California;
Back Row from left: Lakshmi Sridaran, director of Policy and Advocacy, South Asian Americans Standing Together (SAALT); Harsh Voruganti, associate director of Public Policy, Hindu
American Foundation; Jasjit Singh, executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF);
and Michael Lieberman, Washington Counsel, Anti-Defamation League.
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