Convenience store owned by Indian-American targetted in Florida

Hate attacks on Indian-Americans have been on the rise in recent days. (Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons) Photograph:( Others )

WION Florida, United States Mar 12, 2017, 04.46 AM (IST)

A Florida man tried to set a convenience store owned by people of Indian descent ablaze, in yet another attack on Indian-Americans in the country.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said the accused tried to set the store on fire because he thought the owners were Muslim, CNN reported.

"It's unfortunate that (accused Richard) Lloyd made the assumption that the store owners were Arabic when, in fact, they are of Indian descent," Mascara said.

Lloyd later told investigators that he did that to do his bit for America as he was angry what the Muslims were doing in the Middle East. He said he wanted to chase the Arabs out of the country in retaliation to what was happening in the Middle East.

The 64-year-old accused has been charged with first-degree arson and jailed in lieu of a $30,000 bond.

This is the latest flash point in a spate of attacks on Indian-Americans.

The hate attacks began last month when 32-year-old engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead in a Kansas bar. Days later, a driver of Indian descent was gunned down in Washington. The gunman had yelled "go back to your own country" before opening fire. Violence also spread in South Carolina when another Indian store owner was fatally shot by a white US citizen.

The recent string of attacks has marred India's relations with the US and has urged Washington to take necessary action to curb the hate attacks.