A California man was charged with a pattern of hate crimes against Indian women after he reportedly assaulted more than a dozen women throughout the area. It has been claimed that beginning in June, the accused went on a two-month crime spree, specifically targeting at least 14 elderly Hindu women of Indian origin, as stated by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
The culprit allegedly targeted Indian ladies wearing traditional clothing and jewelry, according to officials. He allegedly grabbed their wrists and attempted to steal their jewels.
In one incident, the suspect accused slammed a woman to the ground before punching her husband in the face, stealing her necklace, and fleeing in a vehicle. In another similar incident, a woman’s wrist was fractured during the assault.
Many Hindus consider gold jewelry to be sacred and wear it only on special occasions. According to Samir Kalra of the Hindu American Foundation, it is crucial to raise awareness because major Indian holidays and festivals coming up. According to Kalra, the Indian community feels “vulnerable and afraid.“
Kalra claims that the Indian community is facing a rise in hate crimes and online Hindu Phobia. Kalra applauded the work of the district attorney and urged more counties to investigate crimes against Asian Americans as hate crimes. He highlighted that the fact that we are pressing forward with aggressive prosecution sends a strong message.
Prosecutors stated that the majority of reported robberies occurred in South Bay areas, including Milpitas, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale. When the accused attacked nearly all of the victims, they were reportedly wearing sari, bindi, or other sorts of ethnic clothing.
Necklaces worth at least $35,000 were stolen from victims whose ages ranged between 50 to 73, according to the prosecution.
East Palo Alto resident Lathan Johnson, 37 years old, was detained by Santa Clara police and US Marshals. Despite the fact that the Milpitas Police Department was the first to link him to the crimes. They connected him to a getaway vehicle.
In late 2021, a gang of men was charged with robbery and hate crimes by the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office for allegedly targeting Asian women during a spree of handbag snatchings. Those proceedings continue to be ongoing.
In a statement, District Attorney Jeff Rosen acknowledged the attacks and said, “I say to our South Asian society that anyone who targets and attacks you will be arrested and prosecuted with the utmost severity under our law.”
The District Attorney reclassified the attacks as “anti-Hindu hate crimes” after they were initially reported as “anti-South Asian hate crimes,” as reported by the Hindu American Foundation.
In an interview with a television station, DA Rosen said, “Rips off their jewelry, pushes them down the street, breaks their writs, beats up their husband and terrorize them is far worse than a property thief.”
The Hindu American Foundation criticized the assaults and a member stated, “We are facing an uptick in hate crimes and online Hindu phobia. Seeing that we’re making progress in prosecuting to the fullest sends a powerful message.”
Lathan Johnson did not appear in court since he claimed he had not taken his medications. Johnson is still being held in jail without the possibility of posting bail, and he could be sentenced to a maximum of 63 years in prison if he is found guilty of hate crimes. The case’s next hearing is scheduled for November 4.
Diverse nations have been urged to adopt rigorous measures against hate crimes, despite the fact that Indo-American Hindus are on edge due to a series of rare incidents and the widespread dissemination of online Hindu Phobia.