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‘Hate crime’: Punjabi man murdered in US over cigarettes, family in shock

In a suspected incident of hate crime, a 32-year-old Nadala resident was stabbed to death by unidentified persons outside a grocery store at Modesto city in California, United States, on Friday.

The victim, Jagjeet Singh, was a staffer at the commercial establishment.

A pall of gloom descended on Nadala on Saturday, after Jagjeet’s relatives learnt about his death. According to sources, Jagjeet – or Jagga – had been living with his sister and brother-in-law in Modesto ever since he left for the United States over a year ago. He is survived by his wife, Kuljeet Kaur, and two sons – Ishmeet Singh (9) and Dilpreet Singh (7) – who reside in Kapurthala. Jagjeet had three siblings – two younger sisters and an elder brother settled in France.

Jagjeet Singh’s family mourning his death at their residence at Nadala in Kapurthala on Saturday. (HT Photo)

“I was told by Sikander Singh, a co-worker at the store, that Jagjeet has fallen victim to a hate crime,” said Kanwarjit Singh Cheema, the victim’s brother-in-law. Sikander had witnessed Jagjeet’s stabbing, he added.

According to Kanwarjit, a man – apparently a US national – came to the store around 11.30 pm and asked for a pack of cigarettes. However, Jagjeet refused to hand it over because the customer was unable to produce the mandated identity card for making the purchase. The man then reportedly left the store in a fury, mouthing racist abuses and warning Jagjeet of dire consequences. The entire sequence was captured by a CCTV camera installed in the store premises.

Kanwarjit said when Jagjeet went out a few minutes later, he was attacked with a sharp-edged weapon. He succumbed en route to a local hospital.

His father, Mohinder Singh, was inconsolable. “Jagjeet was a kind-hearted and hardworking person. We will miss him,” he said. “He went to the US one-and-a-half years ago to support the family. We took loans from relatives to send him there.”

The family said that though police are investigating the case, the attackers are yet to be arrested. “We will decide when to cremate him after receiving his body from the hospital,” Mohinder told HT.

Source: HindustanTimes