A Sikh taxi driver in Chicago has been horribly beaten and called a terrorist by a teenage boy in a suspected hate crime.
Inderjit Singh Mukker, 53, a resident of the Chicago suburb of Darien and a US citizen, was subjected to a racist tirade late on Tuesday afternoon before being beaten.
He was left with blood pouring from a cut on his cheek and suffered bruising to his eyes.
According to reports, the 17-year-old attacker called Mr Mukker a “Terrorist” and “Bin Laden”, asking him to “Go back to your country!” before beating him.
Police say the attack followed a “minor” traffic altercation.after his
Officials with the Sikh Coalition, a Sikh advocacy group, said Mr Mukker was driving to a grocery store when he pulled over to let the other vehicle pass, but the driver pulled in front of him and approached his car.
The coalition said he then reached in and repeatedly punched Mr Mukker in the face. It also said Mr Mukker lost consciousness, was bleeding and had a broken cheekbone.
At a press conference organized by the Federation of Indian Associations on Thursday evening in Lombard, Chicago, Mr Mukker’s father, Sadhu Singh Rikhiraj, spoke about the ordeal.
“He had broken cheekbones and he couldn’t see anything,” Mr Rikhiraj said. “His eyes are all puffed up. He is not in good shape. It’s very frightening.”
Mr Rikhiraj said his son drives a taxi for a living.
“He is a very hardworking young man with two kids,” Rikhiraj said. “He’s a very peace-loving person.”
When asked if the family would pursue any additional legal action against the suspect, Mr Rikhiraj said it was too early to tell.
Mr Mukker’s lawyer, Harsimran Kaur, said the Sikh Coalition also is pressing for hate crime charges against the teenager.
“We want the attacker to understand that when he attacked Mr. Mukker, it was an attack against the entire community and the entire community grieves and feels afraid,” Kaur said.
The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and several other national civil rights organizations released a statement Thursday joining the Sikh Coalition in calling for a hate crime investigation and charges.