Indian Sikh, Mistaken for a Muslim, Shot Dead in US
An Indian who moved to the US 10 years ago was shot dead at the weekend by an unidentified gunmen, US reports said Sunday, in what looked like a misplaced act of revenge for the attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
Balbir Singh Sodhi, 49, a Sikh, was killed Saturday when a gunman in a black pick-up truck drove into the Arizona service station which he ran, and fired three shots, the Arizona Republic newspaper reported.
The assailant then drove on to another service station where a Lebanese-American was working and to a house, firing shots but injuring no one else.
Sodhi's brother, Harjit, told India's Star TV network his sibling was killed because his dark skin, beard and turban made him look like the men US authorities say hijacked the planes used in Tuesday's devastating attacks.
"Some people don't understand because we are different, because we look like (Osama) bin Laden," Harjit said. "But we are not Muslim."
The Sodhis, originally from Punjab in India, belong to the Sikh religion.
The newspaper said police were trying to trace the killer. One officer, sergeant Mike Goulet, said the murder was not being considered a racist crime.
In India, the country's junior interior minister, I.D. Swamy, told Star TV Sunday that his government would urge the US administration to provide security to Indian nationals in America.
In the Kashmir city of Jammu, meanwhile, more than 3,000 Sikhs staged a rally Sunday in support of the United States' pledge to crush terrorism and urged Washington to provide security to members of their community in America, witnesses said.
Dark-skinned immigrants in the US, particularly Muslims and Arab-Americans, have been singled out for verbal and, in some cases, physical abuse in North America in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.
US authorities say their main suspect for the carnage is Afghanistan-based bin Laden, an extremist Saudi-born dissident who is said to command an international Muslim terrorist network -- WASHINGTON (AFP)
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