A 68-year-old Sikh man has been murdered in California, the first homicide and possible hate crime in the city of Fresno in 2016.

Gurcharan Singh Gill was stabbed to death in broad daylight while he was working at a local liquor store on West Shields Avenue, according to Lieutenant Mindy Casto. He was still working there to put his son through medical school.

Mr Gill’s body was found by a customer, according to abc30. He did not wear a turban but police are investigating whether the murder was a hate crime due to a recent spate of similar attacks against Sikhs in the vicinity.

“This is a convenience store. The motive may have been robbery. We've also seen attacks in the past where the motive was not religious-based but was mental illness,” said Lieutenant Burke Farrah, commander of the street violence police section.

Another elderly Sikh man was brutally assaulted by two people in Fresno on 28 December.

A hate crime was also filed against a Chicago teenager accused of abusing and beating a Sikh taxi driver in September.

Mark Reading-Smith, Senior Director of Communications and Media at The Sikh Coalition said they had reeived 42 reports of hate crimes against Sikhs since 2007 to June 2015. He said the number has grown “enormously” in the second half of 2015 but exact numbers are not yet available.

In the past month the coalition has received three times as many legal calls related to backlash compared to the same time over the past few years.

“Compounding the issue [of getting a solid number of hate crimes since 9/11] is that law enforcement, until literally last year, had not been tracking it either,” he said

Courtesy: The Independent