Attacker of elderly Sikh in US pleads not guilty

Washington, May 30 (IANS) The transient accused of brutally attacking an 81-year-old Sikh man outside a gurdwara in the US May 5 has pleaded not guilty of attempted murder and elderly abuse.

Gilbert Garcia, 29, was arrested for brutally attacking Piara Singh with a steel rod outside the Nanaksar Sikh gurdwara on South Cherry Avenue, southwest Fresno, in central California around 7 a.m. May 5.

The accused appeared before the Fresno County Superior Court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to the charges, which the Fresno County District Attorney's Office described as a hate crime, the Fresno Bee reported.

Garcia, who was arrested around an hour after the attack that left Singh with broken ribs, lung lacerations and head wounds, has a record of arrests in the Fresno area.

Garcia is being held in lieu of a bail of $1.7 million and a hearing has been scheduled for June 26.

The newly-formed American Sikh Congressional Caucus is pushing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate the case as a hate crime.

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