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Police Say Sikh Teens Made Up Bias Attack

By STAFF, Lodi, N.J., Mar. 10, 2004

Two Sikh teenagers who told police they were attacked by five men who yanked off their turbans and cut off their hair apparently fabricated the story, police said. Lodi Police Chief Vincent J. Caruso said Wednesday that the pair - 18-year-old Simrandeep Singh and a 17-year-old - made a false bias claim to police on March 3 to conceal the fact that they had cut their own hair, in violation of their religion. Caruso said the two could face charges. As of Wednesday night, none had been filed. He said Lodi police continued to investigate after finding holes in the teens' original report and that the teens eventually cooperated.

Singh and the 17-year-old told police they were at a bus stop when a group of men approached them and asked to borrow money. The groups got into a pushing match and the groups wound up in Memorial Park, Capt. Vincent Quatrone has said. There, the teens told police they were kicked and punched and robbed of about $40. One man was then reported to have removed the teens' turbans, pulled out a pair of scissors and cut 3 to 4 feet of hair from the victims as they pleaded with him to stop. Sikhs are forbidden by their religion to cut their hair, believing it is a gift from God.