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Chicago teen sentenced to community service for assaulting Sikh American

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Inderjit Singh Mukker, the Darien man who was beaten in his car Sept. 8, 2015, after a news conference held Sept. 15 along Cass Avenue where the attack occurred. (Kimberly Fornek, Chicago Tribune)

Inderjit Singh Mukker, the Darien man who was beaten in his car Sept. 8, 2015, after a news conference held Sept. 15 along Cass Avenue where the attack occurred. (Kimberly Fornek, Chicago Tribune)

 

CHICAGO (Diya TV) — The Chicago teenager who beat Sikh American Inderjit Singh Mukker last year has been sentenced to 200 hours of community service and two years of probation, according to the Chicago TribuneAdditionally, he was ordered to pay Mukker’s medical bills which were not covered by his insurance — roughly $5,000 — as well as counseling for anger management, cultural awareness, and substance abuse.

“Since Mr. Mukker was viciously assaulted last September, we have seen a meteoric rise in hate crimes against Sikh Americans as xenophobic political speech has increased,” Harsimran Kaur, legal director of The Sikh Coalition, told NBC News. “Charging the assailant with a hate crime is an important step towards addressing the broader epidemic. We hope that the 200 hours of community service are spent with the Sikh American community in an effort to further educate.”

If he fails to complete the grants of his probation, the assailant will be ordered to serve 15 days in a detention center.

The attack took place last September when Mukker, a U.S. citizen and father of two, was sitting in his car in a left-turn lane when the driver in the car next to him began yelling obscenities and racial slurs, including “Bin Laden,” and “terrorist.” After the light turned green, Mukker pulled his vehicle to the side of the road to allow the other car to pass. Instead, the other driver stopped in front of him, exited their vehicle, and began repeatedly pummeling Mukker with punches through his open car window.

Mukker lost consciousness for 10 to 15 minutes as a result of the attack.

Inderjit Mukker was hospitalized after being punched in the face by an assailant who allegedly yelled, “Terrorist! ... Go back to your country.” (Sikh Coalition)

Inderjit Mukker was hospitalized after being punched in the face by an assailant who allegedly yelled, “Terrorist! … Go back to your country.” (Sikh Coalition)

 

For two months after his wounds had healed, Mukker said he could not work his regular job as a taxi driver. Now, nearly seven months later, Mukker maintains he’s still unable to work as many hours as he was once able to support his family. His bills have begun piling up, as a result.

“My income has fallen dramatically,” Mukker wrote in a statement read by Assistant State’s Attorney Audriana Anderson. “I have fallen behind on my mortgage.”

The assailant, a juvenile, was 17 at the time the crime was committed, and was initially charged with five counts of felony aggravated battery. After the intervention of civil rights advocates, the charges were amended to include the inclusion of one count of a hate crime. The juvenile pleaded guilty to the hate crime last December.

In court, the juvenile’s father described multiple troubles which he claims have plagued his sons development and behavior toward others in the community, while at the same time, insisting he was in no way making excuses for the attack. When the boy was young, he became crippled with a disease that paralyzed him, the father said.

“I just really wanted you to understand our circumstances,” the father told the judge.

“The importance of a hate crime charge was never about endorsing a harsher penalty for the assailant, but rather ensuring that our government agencies and the American public acknowledge the problem,” Kaur said. “Mr. Mukker’s case is unfortunately not unique and we must continue to do more to combat this problem together as a nation.”

 

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U.S. death toll from COVID-19 hits 600,000

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U.S. death toll from COVID-19 hits 600,000 | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — The U.S. has reached a grim milestone. More than 600,000 people have died from Covid-19 as officials race to vaccinate more people. But deaths have also been slowing for months because of an aggressive campaign to vaccinate the nation’s elderly and medically vulnerable people.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson just replaced an Indian American administrative law judge who ruled against the state health department in a significant abortion case. Last year, Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi turned aside Missouri’s effort to close the state’s last abortion provider, a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. Dandamudi also ruled against the state in a medical marijuana case.

And Pakistani Brit actor Riz Ahmed is forming a new coalition, pushing for more Muslim representation in media and Hollywood.  He’s partnering with several influential institutions like USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to give out financial grants and offer mentoring.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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20 dead, many injured in Pakistan bus crash

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20 dead, many injured in Pakistan bus crash | Diya TV News

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Diya TV) — A bus crammed with pilgrims coming back from a Muslim religious festival crashed in southwest Pakistan, killing at least 20 people and leaving dozens of others injured. Officials say the bus was overloaded and passengers were even traveling on the roof of the bus. The death toll is expected to increase. 

Police say man accused of killing four members of a Pakistani Canadian Muslim family targeted them for their Islamic faith. 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman is facing several murder charges for allegedly running them over in his pickup truck. Investigators say there is evidence this was premeditated and motived by hate.

Vice President Kamala Harris walked in the Capital Pride Walk and Rally in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, making history as the first sitting vice president to march in a Pride event.
The Biden-Harris administration has brought LGBTQ issues to the forefront of its agenda. One of the president’s first executive orders called for an end to discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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One in two Indian Americans have encountered racism

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Study: 1 in 2 Indian Americans report facing discrimination | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — According to a new study, Fifty percent of Indian Americans say they have encountered racism in the U.S. in the past year. Discrimination against darker-skinned people is the most common form of bias encountered and the main perpetrators are non-Indians. The study also shows Indian Americans are the second largest immigrant group in the US with more than 4 million living in the country.

Judge Zahid Quraishi has been confirmed by the US Senate, becoming the first Muslim American federal judge. Quraishi, who is of Pakistani descent, was serving as a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.

Former Federal prosecutor Preet Bharara’s dinner with an author who once despised Indian food is getting a lot of likes on the internet. On twitter, Tom Nichols is finally admitting his palate is expanding and he wants more Lamb Biryani. Bharara responded on social media by saying Nichols is still getting used to the butter chicken. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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