A Californian man has been charged with hate crimes after he was caught on video hurling racial slurs and abusing a man at a Taco Bell restaurant, yelling at him, “This is not India.”
Singh Tejinder, 37, of Union City, met Krishnan Jayaraman on August 21 at a Taco Bell in Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He is seen confronting Jayaraman and hurling insults, calling him a “filthy Hindu”, repeatedly using the N-word and saying Jayaraman is a vegetarian and at one moment even spitting on his victim.
“He said, ‘Hey, grab your bean burrito and go. You’re a vegetarian, right? You don’t eat beef. You should eat beef. You Indians should eat beef,” said Jayaraman.
Tejinder, who lists his ethnicity as “Asian/Indian” in loading documents, was filmed saying, “B**** that’s not India! You screwed up India and now you’re screwing up America.’
In an interview with ABC7 News, Jayaraman recalled the man’s statement: “You are a Hindu bathing in cow urine.”
Cows are considered sacred animals that the Hindu religion prohibits them from eating, and Tejinder repeatedly urges Jayaraman to order a beef taco.
Singh Tejinder, 37, of Union City, was charged with hate crimes after the Aug. 21 attack
Tejinder said to him, “You’re disgusting, dog. you look evil Don’t come out in public like that again.’
Jayaraman called the police and waited at the restaurant even after receiving his food order and taking it in silence.
“I didn’t see the point of hiring someone who was desperate to start a fight and wanted me to get involved,” he said. “He was so close to my face. He threw his dollars in my face. He spat everywhere.’
He added he was concerned the man might follow him as he walked to his car.
He said he was scared of the incident and upset when he learned his attacker’s ethnicity.
“I was scared, to be honest,” he told NBC News.
“I was angry on the one hand, but I was scared, what if this guy gets too aggressive and then comes after me?”
Upon hearing his racist attacker pronounce Hindi words and use Punjabi towards the end of the confrontation, Jayaraman realized that Tejinder may have been of Indian descent, but was oriented with a Sikh nationalist independence movement in northern India known as the Khalistan movement.
“F**k Indira Gandhi, N****,” Tejinder is heard saying, in reference to the Indian Prime Minister who was assassinated by Sikh nationalists in 1984.
Krishnan Jayaraman was singled out by Tejinder, racially abused and spat on
Jayaraman explained: “Towards the end of the video he said the name of the late Prime Minister and threw an F-bomb at it. And then I realized, oh my god, he could be Indian.”
“This group, the Khalistan group, has been classified as a terrorist organization in India,” Jayaraman said. “It was at that point that it dawned on me that he might be someone who has an ulterior motive to do all these things.”
The man is heard saying to Jayaraman, “You were the ones when the East India Company came, you were the ones who knelt first. Your people were the ones who put your head down, b****!’
The confrontation lasted over eight minutes before police arrived to arrest Tejinder, and Jayaraman criticized Taco Bell employees for not directly intervening.
“So many of these employees have been so busy, but they are up front. You see how he abuses me,’ he said.
“So I figured they’d at least ask him to leave the establishment. Which probably most franchises would do. I mean, I don’t know what Taco Bell’s policy is.’
Some Hindus in the local community spoke of a rise in Hinduphobic behavior across the country.
“I find this video so horrible,” Pushpita Prasad told NBC Bay Area. “It’s kind of what we’ve been dreading for a while. We are seeing an increasing number of attacks on Hindu Americans.’
Tejinder insulted and berated Jayaraman for over eight minutes, once waving a handful of dollars
Tejinder was charged Monday with hate crimes involving violation of civil rights, assault and disturbance of the peace through abusive language, the Fremont Police Department said.
Taco Bell said in a statement that it was aware of the incident, calling the actions in the video “troubling, disturbing and not consistent with the brand’s inclusive values of respecting and welcoming customers of all backgrounds.”
Police Chief Sean Washington of the Fremont Police Department lamented the incident, calling it “disgusting.”
“We are here to protect all community members regardless of gender, race, nationality, religion and other differences,” he wrote on Facebook.
“We would like to ask the community to treat each other with respect and to promptly report any circumstances like this that could reach the level of a felony under investigation.
“Fremont is one of the most diverse communities in the country, and we are grateful for the contributions of community members from different cultures and backgrounds.”