American boy indicted for anti-Sikh hate crime

New York: A grand jury has filed an indictment against Umair Ahmed, a 17-year old schoolboy, for forcibly cutting a 15-year-old Sikh boy's hair in a school in Queens borough of New York.

Ahmed faces nine charges, including coercion.

Michael Brovner, assistant district attorney of Queens on Monday said: "The indictment was filed today of all the original five charges and four additional charges as hate crimes. The defendant will be arraigned within the next few weeks."

The case will now proceed to trial, said Tejinder Singh, the legal advisor of United Sikhs, a New York based organisation representing the victim, whose identity has not been revealed.

"The case stems from an incident on May 24 in Newtown High School in Elmhurst," Kuldeep Singh, a United Sikhs director, told IANS.

Detective Delvalle deposed that Ahmed threatened to beat up the Sikh boy and took him to the bathroom. Under duress, he forced the victim to remove his turban and cut his waist length hair to the neckline with a pair of scissors.

Inder J Singh, a professor at New York University and scholar of Sikhism, testified before the jury on the religious significance of unshorn hair to Sikhs.

The 16-member jury also indicted Ahmed of unlawful imprisonment, aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a weapon.

After the school where the incident occurred said they could not guarantee the Sikh boy's safety, he has been transferred to another school, according to United Sikhs.


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