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Selective Headlining of Victims' Religion


Is it appropriate of Mr. S. Rajagopalan to mention the religion of the victim, Ranjit Singh, but not of another victim in a separate incident, Ranjit Patel? Moreoever, he didn't mention the religion of Kiran Kadian, allegedly stabbed to death by her son. Why this selectivity? In Bhangra competitions, a lot of Punjabi Hindus and Muslims participate along with Sikhs. The same news report in The Washington Post (Amit R. Paley, March 29, 2005) does not bring up religion at all. Why does The Hindustan Times? -- C.J.S. Wallia, The Sikh Times

The Hindustan Times, Mar. 29, 2005

Photo: Ranjit Singh

Sikh youth killed in U.S. after Bhangra blowout; 2 hurt

A young Sikh has been stabbed to death and two others injured in the heart of Washington D.C. after a late night party to celebrate the annual 'Bhangra blowout' festival.

Ranjit Singh, 20, was knifed on Pennsylvania Avenue, just five blocks from the White House, in the early hours of Sunday. The other two, who tried to chase the assailant, have been hospitalised with slash injuries. Their identity has not been revealed.

A $25,000 reward has been announced to trace the culprit, who was believed to be of either Hispanic or Indian ethnicity.

It was the third killing of an Indian American in separate incidents over the past one week. In other incidents, an Indian doctor's wife was allegedly stabbed to death by her own son in the Washington metro area, while an Indian motel owner was shot dead in New Jersey.

The 'Bhangra blowout' has in recent years become a hugely popular springtime competition in Washington D.C. Sponsored by the George Washington University, it draws teams of South Asian students from several American universities.

Singh was done to death around 2:45 a.m. after a post-festival party got over at the Old Post Office Pavilion, a nightclub. 'Several men were on the corner and an argument broke out, one of the men pulled a knife,' a police officer said.

The dance competition itself was a peaceful affair, G.W. spokeswoman Tracy Schario said. Held at a different venue a mile away, it also raised funds for tsunami relief.

Singh, who migrated to the U.S. just two years ago from native Punjab, was living with his parents in New Jersey. A clerk at a convenience store, he along with a small group of friends had left for Washington on Friday night for the weekend event.

Earlier in the week, an Indian hotelier of New Jersey, Ranjit 'Randy' Patel, had been gunned down in his motel, 'Rodeway Inn.' Nearly a week after the murder, police are still to establish the motive behind the killing. Patel's family said nothing, except his car, appeared to be missing from the motel. A day later, the car was found abandoned in Philadelphia.

In the other incident, Kiran Kadian, 52, wife of Indian physician and author Rajesh Kadian, was found dead in her house in Great Falls in the Washington area. Police subsequently arrested their 20-year-old son and charged him with first degree murder.

The boy had dropped out of James Madison University last November and had been having legal problems after he was found to be in possession of marijuana.