A pair of White supremacists beat a 50-year-old Sikh man and vandalized his truck with a racist message in Central California last week.
The incident occurred while Surjit Malhi was placing campaign signs for local Republican candidates along a road in Keyes, Stanislaus County on July 31.
Malhi was all by himself when two White men wearing black hooded sweatshirts appeared and beat him to the ground, authorities said.
The White men screamed “You’re not welcome here!” and “Go back to your country!” during the attack.
They then vandalized Malhi’s white truck with the same racist message.
Malhi required an ambulance and had to be treated on-site.
An image of his truck posted on Facebook shows the words “Go back to ur [sic] country” written in black spray paint.
A Celtic cross, described by the Anti-Defamation League as a White supremacist symbol, was also drawn.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department is calling the assault a “heinous” hate crime.
“This is a random despicable criminal act against a member of the Sikh community,” Sheriff Adam Christianson told the Modesto Bee.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Sgt. Tom Letras said that there was no relationship between Malhi and the suspects. They are now searching for the latter.
“This is a heinous crime and we are aggressively investigating it,” said Letras.
Casey Joyce Musgrave, who shared the truck’s image on Facebook, said that Malhi was beaten in the head with a rod.
“This is one of my best friend’s dad’s truck that was vandalized after he was badly beaten in the head with a rod. They also threw dirt in his eyes. He has been here for 35 years and does a lot to help his community,” Musgrave wrote.
However, Malhi dodged a major injury because of his turban, a head article traditionally worn by Sikh men.
“My turban really saved me,” he told the New York Times on Monday. “Whoever did this, they are not truly American.”
Malhi came to the U.S. from India in 1992. He is now a permanent resident and owns a small trucking business.