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Indian-American youth held by police in New York

June 20, 2011 14:28 IST

A 17-year-old Indian-American youngster was handcuffed and arrested by police when he went to the rescue of his mother who was harassed and spit on her face by a Chinese national in Flushing area of Queens in New York.

This is the second incident of an Indian youth being arrested in Flushing. Earlier, Krittika Biswas, 18, daughter of Debashish Biswas, vice consul of Indian consulate, was detained following a complaint from her school teachers that she had sent a hate e-mail, which was actually sent by another student.

The fresh incident took place on Saturday when a Chinese pedestrian stood in front of the car of Sushma Thukral, who was driving on Kissena Boulevard-Beach Avenue intersection, and refused to move even after the traffic signal flashed green.

Sushma waited for a few minutes and honked to signal him that the traffic had started flowing. Unfazed, the Chinese man allegedly spat on her face and abused her.

Sorab Thukral, 17, sitting beside his mother, got down from the car after she pulled the vehicle over near her store. Sushma Thukral, owner of Asian Foods in Cherry Avenue in Flushing, a pre-dominantly Chinese neighborhood, said that fearing reprisal from the local people, her son attempted to close the shutters using an iron rod.

Meanwhile, Sushma informed the police who came near the shop to investigate the case. Police who arrested the Chinese pedestrian also took into custody Sorab on the complaint that he attempted to hit the pedestrian with an iron rod despite his pleading that he rushed only to close the store, downing the shutters, and had not threatened him with the iron rod.

Sorab was handcuffed, arrested, fingerprinted and lodged in a lock up at Police precinct 109 in Flushing on the complaint allegedly preferred by the pedestrian.

"The Chinese national gesticulated in an obscene manner in front of me and tried to expose his private parts standing on the road to the full glare of all the people watching the incident, apparently upset with my honking. What did my son do except for trying to close the store using an iron rod to pull down the shutters. He was falsely accused in the case and taken into custody," she said.

Sorab was taken to the police precinct and kept in custody for over four hours and was released only at the intervention of James J Trikas, vice president of Democratic Club of Flushing and a community activist who went to the police station at the request of Sushma.

The court date has been fixed on July 19 for hearing. "The police went by a statement made by a so-called eyewitness that Sorab had an iron rod in his hand though police did not actually see him carrying an iron rod," Sushma said.

"He is a law abiding citizen and has never been involved in any illegal activities but he was treated like a criminal for no fault of his." Trikas said he spoke to the officer leading to the release of the youngster from custody after all the formalities at the police station. He said the youth was charged for menacing based on eyewitness account.

"Spitting is a major violation and I have personal experience how people behave with others in this fashion. Many think that spitting is OK but it's not true, as it damages one's dignity in front of people.

Police had no choice but to take both of them into custody, as they can't figure out who did what although there was no physical attack or perceived threat by Sorab," Trikas said. Flushing has a predominant majority of Chinese population and sizable Indian-Americans along with some Caucasians and Hispanic population.

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