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US: Probe sought after Sikh student's turban set afire

May 13, 2008 15:17 IST

The Sikh community in New Jersey has demanded a full-fledged inquiry into an incident in which a high school student allegedly set afire the "patka" or small turban worn by a fellow Sikh student, in an unprovoked attack.

The student suffered minor burns but it has raised outrage in the Sikh community which has also asked the school to do more to combat discrimination.

The culprit, identified as an 18-year-old Hightstown senior Garrett Green, was arrested hours later and charged with arson and criminal mischief. He has also been suspended from the school.

The police are investigating the incident which occurred on May 5 in Hightstown High School in Mercer County in New Jersey during a fire drill.

The Sikh student, who is a teenager and would not like to be identified, was chatting with a fellow student when Green, whom he did not know, came up from behind and set "patka" on fire using a lighter.

A teacher helped him to put out the fire. The "patka," shown by his relatives, had at least two big burn holes.

"No mother should have to worry that her child could be hurt at school because of the way he looks," said Sukhjot Kaur, the teenager's mother.
The Sikh Coalition, a community organisation, urged the School to take immediate steps to address the concerns of the community.


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