HAF and SABA-NC express outrage over hate crime in San Jose, CA

San Jose, CA (January 11, 2012) - The South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA-NC) has joined the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) to condemn the brutal attack of a 32-year old Hindu man in San Jose, California. According to statements from the victim, identified as Atul Lall, he was assaulted while leaving a Lucky shopping center parking lot on the night of November 21, after picking up groceries for the family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Lall, who has a pre-existing disability, was attacked by a group of three men, who repeatedly punched him, broke his jaw with a tequila bottle, poured alcohol and spit on him, and called him a “terrorist.”
"It is shocking and deplorable that this young man was targeted and singled out based on his ethnic/religious background or perceived background in what appears to be a violent hate crime,” said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF’s California based Director and Senior Fellow for Human Rights. “This type of bigotry is not only an affront to the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, and Middle Eastern communities, but an egregious attack on the values of American society.”
Following the attack, Lall called 911 and drove himself to the hospital, where he had surgery to repair his jaw. San Jose police, however, did not arrive at the hospital until approximately four hours after the incident. According to an official from the San Jose Police Department, the incident is now being investigated as a hate crime, but no arrests have yet been made in connection with the case. Lall has expressed frustration with the slow pace and lack of progress in the investigation.
"We urge the police to conduct a thorough and expeditious investigation and apprehend those responsible for this deplorable act,” Kalra added.
Lall has still not recovered fully from the attack and continues to require medical treatment for his injuries. He is an industrial designer and a recent graduate of San Jose State University, who’s family immigrated to Silicon Valley from the eastern Indian city of Kolkota over 30 years ago.
"It is extremely disturbing to know that certain individuals actually believe that by threatening and physically harming innocent people they are protecting our country from terrorists,” said Shaamini Babu, Co-President of SABA-NC. “With hate crimes continuing to occur throughout the country, organizations such as SABA-NC and HAF must monitor such incidents and attempt to ensure that law enforcement holds those individuals accountable for their egregious actions. Anyone aware of a hate crime may report it to SABA-NC by calling 1-888-99NO-HAT(E).”
HAF and SABA-NC expressed their sympathy and support directly to the victim and his family and reiterated their hope for a quick resolution to the case. Anyone with information about the incident should call the San Jose Police Department’s assault unit at 408-277-4161.
Those interested in assisting the victim with his ongoing medical expenses can make charitable donations to the “Atul Lall Fund” at any Wells Fargo Bank, or contact Shaamini Babu at president@southasianbar.org for more information.