Sikh priest at gurdwara in Central California assaulted in apparent hate crime

An intruder at the Sikh gurdwara in Hughson, CA, broke windows at the priest’s home on temple grounds, punched the priest, shouted obscenities and told him to go back to his own country before fleeing, according to the priest and others associated with temple.

Amarjit Singh, 60, with the help of temple members who translated some of his comments, said he was in his bedroom about 9:30 pm when the glass in two-bedroom windows was broken. He said he lifted the blinds of one of the windows to look out and was punched in the neck before his attacker, who he said was wearing a mask, fled.

The alleged attacker, yelled at Singh, “it is country, country, country, go back, go back, country.” He also yelled obscenities at him and had something in his hand to break the windows. Singh assumes the intruder ran off in the temple’s nearby overflow, dirt parking lot. He could not see the suspect in the dark.

The temple has an armed security guard each Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The gates to the building are usually locked each night by 9, but the attack occurred at the priest’s home, which is across the parking lot from the temple.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Jeff Dirkse was quoted as saying in newsreports that the investigation was active and ongoing. No suspect is in custody as yet, he said.

“We are certainly looking at the angle of a hate crime, but at this point, it’s inconclusive,” said Dirkse, noting that — to prove a hate crime — investigators must look at the ideological slant of a suspect, and statements that may or may not have been made, among other factors.

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