Two masked men assaulted and allegedly racially abused a 50-year-old Sikh man in California’s Keyes last week. The Stanislaus Sheriff’s Department described the assault as a “heinous hate crime” and said they were trying to identify the accused.

Sheriff Sergent Tom Letras said the 50-year-old victim was putting up campaign signs in the neighbourhood when two masked men accosted him and threw sand in his eyes, The Sacramento Bee reported. “They hit him on his head several times while yelling ‘You are not welcome here!’ and ‘Go back to your country!’” Letras said. The accused spray-painted his truck with the same slogans.

The victim is a Republican Party supporter who was putting up campaign posters for Congressman Jeff Dunham and other Republican leaders. He said that his turban helped minimise the injuries he sustained during the attack.

The complainant said the attack will not deter him from supporting the Republican Party, which is considered to have a strong anti-immigration stance.

There have been a number of hate crime against Indians in the United States over the past few years. In June 2017, a 26-year-old man from Telangana was shot at by an unidentified person in California. Harnish Patel, a 43-year-old Indian-origin store owner, was found dead of gunshot wounds in the front yard of his home in South Carolina, in early March 2017.

The same month, Sikh-US citizen Deep Rai was shot in the arm by a white man who allegedly shouted “go back to your own country” before attacking him. In April 2017, 56-year-old Khandu Patel was shot dead in crossfire outside a motel in Tennessee. On February 22, 2017, Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed when a US Navy veteran opened fire at him and his friend at a pub in Kansas while yelling “get out of my country”.

Following the series of attacks, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged the Indian government in June 2017 to take up the issue of security of Sikhs in the United States with President Donald Trump.