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San Diego, Oct 11, 2001

San Diego police are currently searching for two men who stabbed Swaran Kaur Bhullar on Sunday afternoon while sitting in her car waiting for the stop light to change at the intersection of Miramar Road and Cabot Drive. The men, who were riding on a motorcycle, pulled up beside her, yanked open her door, and were said to have shouted, "This is what you get for what you've done to us," before slashing at her with a knife.

Bringing her arms up and hunching over to protect herself, Bhullar was stabbed twice in the head. When they heard a car approaching, the two men immediately sped off. She was later treated at Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa for two cuts in her scalp and released. The attack on Bhullar, a 51-year-old resident of coastal North County, is possibly the first incident of a suspected hate crime involving violence reported in the San Diego area since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, "and we're treating it as a hate crime at this point," San Diego police media relations officer Dave Cohen told India-West.

According to Cohen, San Diego police are already investigating 36 suspected hate crimes, which include threatening phone calls, nasty notes left on windshields, graffiti and vandalism. At the time of the incident, Bhullar was on her way to the family's Bombay Videos store. "If that car hadn't driven up, I might have died," Bhullar told the San Diego Union Tribune. "They could have cut me and left me there, and there's nothing I could have done." Bhullar, a naturalized citizen from Kenya, came to San Diego 15 years ago because she believed this country was safer than Africa. "I just want to be in my own home, safe," she said. "and I want to remind Sikhs and anyone who is brown to keep their car doors locked."


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