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US Sikhs killing: Islamic organisation offers reward for info on killers

Washington: A top Islamic body in the US on Monday offered a reward of USD 5,000 for the information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who gunned down two elderly Sikh men in a Californian city last week.

Sikh men in beards and turbans are often targeted for discrimination by bigots who mistake them for Muslims, the Council on American-Islamic Council-Sacramenton Valley’s Executive Director, Basim Elkarra said.

“The Muslim community offers its condolences and support to the Sikh community in this time of sorrow, he said.

“We will offer a USD 5,000 reward to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators,” he said in a statement.

Residents on Elk Grove in Sacramento, California; Surinder Singh, 68, and Gurmej Atwal, 78, were shot at by unidentified assailant on Friday evening when the two neighbors were on their daily evening walk.

Sikh Gurdwaras in an appeal urged Sikh community members to try not to wear traditional ethnic ‘kurta’ and ‘payjama’ while going for evening walk or any public appearance, said Gurjatinder Singh Randhawa, chief editor of the regional Sikh newspaper Punjab mail USA.

Singh, who worked as a truck driver in India and Libya before moving to the US, five years ago, died on the spot. He is originally from Pandori Ganga Singh village in Hoshiarpur District of Punjab.

His funeral has been scheduled for March 12.

Atwal, who moved to the US in 2001, continues to be in critical condition. He is from Farallah village in Nawanshahr district of Punjab.

The reward offered by CAIR-SV is in addition to the similar reward of USD 20,000 being announced by the local Gurudwaras.

Both Singh and Atwal were in their traditional Sikh dress during their evening walk when they were shot at on Friday evening.

Randhawa said this is the second such incident against the community in this area.

The first one was about four months ago in which Harbhajan Singh, a cab drive, was shot dead, in West Sacramento, he said, adding that the assailant was arrested.

Last fall, CAIR-SV called for an FBI investigation of an attack on a Sikh cab driver in West Sacramento.

The driver said passengers made anti-Muslim remarks during the attack.

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