A Sikh civil rights group has documented more than 700 cases of bias against members of the faith nationwide since September 11, 2001, according to an Associated Press story published Monday—including the of two elderly Elk Grove residents.
AP reporter Tamara Lush interviewed Kamaljit Atwal, son of slain Elk Grove resident Gurmej Atwal, for a report on the increase in violence and harassment against Sikhs in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks.
The article links the shooting of Atwal, 78, and his friend Surinder Singh, 65, with several other recent cases in which Sikhs were mistaken for Muslims and/or Arabs, including an assault on a Sikh subway employee in New York in May and the killing of a gas station owner in Arizona shortly after Sept. 11.
The Sikh Coalition will hold meetings in New York on July 30 and San Francisco on Aug. 27 to discuss the trend, according to the AP story.
Atwal and Singh were shot March 4 while on an afternoon walk down E. Stockton Blvd. Singh died at the scene, while Atwal passed away from his injuries .
Elk Grove Police Department spokesperson Chris Trim said Monday that the case, while still unsolved, remains a high priority for the department.
"Unfortunately, we have nothing new to report," said Trim, but added that the lack of an arrest so far does not mean the trail has gone cold. He pointed to recent arrests the department made in connection with the murder of a teenager at the Holiday Inn Express on W. Stockton Blvd, eight months after the killing took place.
"Sometimes in these kinds of cases, because of the level of detail involved, there may not be any headway in the first few months," he said. "You never know when there is going to be a break in the case."