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Was Satendar Singh, Hate & Crime Victim?


Sacramento, July 18, 2007
Surinder Singh

On July 1, 2007 Satendar Singh, 26, was with six friends of Fijian and Indian descent at a picnic area near Lake Natoma, east of Sacramento, California. A group of Slavic (Russian) men picnicking with their families at the lake allegedly noticed that, Satendar did not have a female date, and he danced with both women and men in his party. They perceived him as a gay. Witnesses reported that the attackers began hurling anti-gay and racist invectives. The Sacramento Bee reported that the man's friends told reporters he was not a gay

As things escalated, the attackers sent their families home and called for backup. When a new group of Russian speaking men showed up, the party tried to leave, but were blocked by the attackers. One of the men struck Satendar, who fell unconscious, his head bleeding profusely. As the attackers went to their cars to get away, they hurled bottles at the members of Satendar’s party. One member of this party was a petite and young woman who is 6-months pregnant.

Shortly before 9:00 p.m. California State Park Rangers responded to a call for service at Lake Natoma State Park involving an altercation with injuries.

He died July 5 at Mercy San Juan Medical Center near Sacramento, Calif., after a four-day struggle to recover from head trauma. His family and friends numbered over 100 at the hospital. Singh's parents are in Fiji with no way to come to Sacramento, so the painful decision to unplug his life support fell on his aunt and uncle.

Sheriff’s detectives believe the victim was injured during a physical altercation that resulted from a day-long verbal confrontation between groups of Russians and East Indians. The Russians were seen leaving the area in two vehicles: a dark green four-door sedan (no further description) and a Red Mitsubishi (no further description) with a red DMV number “7” sticker affixed to the rear window.

“They were targeting him because Satendar was dancing to Indian music throughout the rest of the day, like the rest of us…I don’t know what (the Russians) were saying or if Satendar said something back, but then it happened,” the witness said

Well, what the gay community has feared for some time has finally happened. After a couple years of fundamentalist and Slavic Christian virulent anti-gay protests at almost every Sacramento gay event in the region, and after years of relative safety in the Sacramento gay community, the homophobic hatred has turned deadly. Today the life support plug will be pulled on a young East Indian gay man killed in a gay bashing at Lake Natomas on Sunday by a group of Slavic Christians.

The Sacramento Bee reported that the man's friends told reporters he is not gay, but family members discussing the murder with Being Gay Today's Nathan Feldman, said they knew of Satendar Singh's sexual orientation, and that it had never interfered with their deep love for him. Singh was a recent immigrant to America, having won a lottery for a green card, earning him the nickname "The Lucky One" among his family and friends.

The Sacramento Sheriff’s department initially decided against investigating the murder as a hate crime, and expressed doubt that the murder was premeditated, despite the Slavic men having sent their families home and having called for back up.

Lesbian activist Marghe Covino, who has been warning the GLBT community for years about the fact that American fundamentalists have been stoking the fires of homophobia in the new immigrants from Russian and the Ukraine in order to use them as proxies against the gay community was at the hospital comforting Singh’s family. It was a task she had hoped to never again have to do in Sacramento.

Darrell Steinberg, California State Senator said, "Here is what we pledge tonight as Sacramentans - we will not tolerate hate, hate speech or violence in any form against the gay and lesbian community or any community of Sacramento."

Over 300 people attended the Community Vigil held at the World Peace Garden at Capitol Park on July 6, 2007. Muslim leaders, Sikh leaders, Pastors and Faith leaders, and API leaders were all represented, as well as, Senator Darrell Steinberg, Assemblymember Dave Jones, West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, and Yolo County Supervisor Mariko Yamada. We heard from many members of the community that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

Here is a link to a video that Nate Feldman, from “Being Gay Today”, produced from that very moving Vigil:



A group of Slavic men's reaction when they observe Satendar did not have a female date, and he danced with both women and men in his party

Anonymous said...
Russian Orthodox Christians and Russians in general are perhaps the most homophobic group on the planet outside the Islamic world. I was born and grew up in Russia and while I was living there I have never met a single pro-gay person (unless that person himself happened to be gay).

Unfortunately, many westerners don't know about how homophobic most Russians are. Westerners often naively assume that they can travel to Russia and expect to be treated like in any other civilized country. I am sorry to say that this is not so. Gay men and women ought to be aware that Russia is an extremely homophobic country. Most Russian immigrants living in the US are also extremely homophobic and judgmental. Moreover, they tend to be violent (especially when drunk) unlike American Christian fundamentalists who might hate your guts but are unlikely to attack you physically.

The gay community in the US should have been more active in helping Russian gays to prepare and organize the Gay Pride Parade in Moscow on May 27th. The mayor of Moscow once again prohibited it but the Russian gay community went ahead and held it anyway. The police, skinheads, Russian nationalists and Orthodox Christian fanatics prevented Russian gays from marching in Moscow. Surprisingly, very few gays in the US reacted to this outrageous event, let alone noticed it. There were almost no expressions of solidarity with Russian gays, no attempts to put pressure on the mayor of Moscow, no letters to the Russian embassy, etc... Only a small group of 4 people held a vigil outside the Russian consulate in New York.

We must also learn to be proactive in protecting our community. It is important, in my opinion, to be aware of one's surroundings and take notice of any large groups of young men, especially if they happen to be Russian, Ukrainian, or Serbian. Many tragic accidents could have been prevented if our community could educate young gay men and women to analyze their environment, to notice potential dangers and to react to them accordingly. This is not to say, of course, that the blame is on the victim. On the contrary. Nothing can justify the behaviour of Christian Orthodox homophiobic scumbags. Nveretheless, we must be smart about protecting ourselves. Source: mpetrelis.blogspot

Several investigators have warned the Sacramento community for years about the fact that American fundamentalists have been stoking the fires of homophobia in new immigrants from Russian and the Ukraine, in order to use them for political agendas.

A small number of Russian-speaking preachers presiding over huge congregations are allegedly spreading the message that it’s their God given right to kill homosexuals, among other radical interpretations of the Bible. Protests against homosexual events and others have been organized within a number of these churches. Over 80 of these churches exist within the Sacramento area; some have over 5,000 members.

Not all of these churches are intolerant and preach hate, but a small handful of politically and financially-influenced preachers are capable of moving vast numbers of faithful followers. A growing number of these churches are becoming organized along the West Coast of the United States.

Actualy this is tussle between Russian Orthodox Christian 5000 members and Gay community in Sacramento. Satendar Singh's name has been associated as Gay in head lines news as below:

  • Gay Immigrant Man, Satendar Singh, Dies in Sacramento From Brutal Bashing
  • Labels: Gay bashing death, Satendar Singh

Now NRI community have to very careful to blame on Russian Orthodox Christian community.






Seven years ago, he left his immediate relatives his native Fiji, in pursuit of the American dream, settling in Sacramento.

  • Satender is survived by his father, Jaswant Singh; mother, Akesa Singh; elder brother, Shalender Singh; sister-in-law, nephew and a niece and a large extended family. In Sacramento, his grandmother, Chand K. Johal; cousin, Shalvin Johal; uncle, Camie Bhuie and aunt, Suvin K. Bhuie attended the memorial services on Friday, July 13, 2007 at 4:00pm at Lombard & Company, 1550 Fulton Ave, Sacramento, CA 95825. His remains shall be flown to Fiji, where the last rites of the funeral shall be performed.