Mr. Surjit Malhi, 50, was confronted on July 31st just outside of San Jose, by two men who reportedly threw sand in his eyes and hit the back of his head with a rod, according to the New York Times. In addition, Mr. Malhi’s white pickup truck was vandalized, the words “go back to ur [sic] country” scrawled in spray paint on its right exterior wing.
The Anti-Defamation League confirmed that a “white supremacist version of the Celtic Cross” was depicted on the side door, suggesting prejudice-motivated intent.
Malhi, a devoted and active member of his community, was attacked while putting up road signs on behalf of California 10th District Representative Jeff Denham’s midterm election campaign.
Fox News and the Modesto Bee report that Stanislaus County Police Department officials have launched an ongoing investigation and identified the suspects as white men with black-hooded sweatshirts. It is unlikely that the perpetrators in question were intimately familiar with the victim.
The assault brought the community together around Mr. Malhi—local residents organized a car wash to remove the graffiti from his vehicle and “clean his yard,” stated the Root. Entire families united to help him in the days following the wanton and unexpected violence, making public statements to KN-TV asserting their commitment to a reasonable expectation of safety and respect that goes beyond race and religion.
Congressman Jeff Denham said through a spokesperson that “inciting violence because of race, religion or political beliefs should never be tolerated. This is the third incident in less than two weeks where a member of my team has been a target and it must come to an end.”
Mr. Mahli began to get involved in political affairs after experiencing the adverse effects of corruption and lawlessness in India, and has been a noteworthy advocate for the homeless for almost thirty years, according to his neighbors and people familiar with his role in the community.