A man of the Sikh faith was brutally attacked and told to “go back” to his home country while he was out putting up campaign signs for Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) last week, according to a local CBS affiliate.
The man, Surjit Malhi, had just finished putting up a sign for Denham and was walking back to his truck when two men reportedly approached him, threw sand in his eyes and beat Malhi in the head, shoulders and neck, all while shouting that he should “go back to your country!”
The men also reportedly vandalized Malhi’s truck with hate symbols and the same “go back” message.
Malhi, a Republican and longtime active member of the Turlock, California community, who has reportedly raised thousands of dollars for people who are homeless or victims of California wildfires, told the local CBS that he was surprised by the attacks.
“I’m American 100 percent, no doubt, so they say, go back to my country? This is my country,” Malhi told CBS. “If you are a real American and you love America, you should not do that. That is not the American way.”
Police are still looking for the two suspects and the attack is being investigated as a hate crime.
A spokesperson for Denham’s office and the local police department didn’t immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.