[ Welcome, Gothamist readers - thanks for stopping by.]
[ UPDATE: The first version of this called it a hate crime, but you will notice that phrase is NOT in the press release. I apologize for the confusion. ]
Here's a press release about a very disturbing incident in NYC - an attack against a popular young club owner, Ashwani Nagpal. Unlike a lot of incidents about which you can just read helplessly and take no action, this one has concrete ways you can easily help get Nagpal some justice. Please read on and pass onto your friends. We will post updates here regularly. See coverage on Brooklyn Masala blog - including information about a fundraiser there on this Saturday, 1/20. Post your comments below.
Vinoo Varghese, vinoovarghese [at] hotmail.com - 212-430-6468
Madhu R. Goel, madhu.goel [at] gmail.com - 212-826-5581
On the night of December 22/early December 23, 2006, Ashwani Nagpal,
one of the owners of Leela Lounge, known to many of his patrons as a friend and
a well-liked member of the community, was beaten to the point of
unconsciousness in his own restaurant by a number of individuals, all in their
Leela Lounge, a popular India-inspired restaurant in the NYU area
where many fundraising events have been hosted by a variety of
organizations and individuals, has been a part of the Greenwich
Village community for approximately a year. Early December 23, 2006,
individuals who were present at a holiday party at Leela Lounge
attacked both Mr. Nagpal and his friend and co-worker, Asheesh Mathur.
Thankfully, both Mr. Nagpal and Mr. Mathur escaped the incident
alive; however, Mr. Nagpal suffered injuries to the head and Mr.
Mathur, a fractured nose and cracked jaw. During the course of these
assaults, racial and ethnic slurs were directed to at least one of the
victims. It is chilling to realize that members of the South Asian
and Greenwich Village community could suffer this sort of violent
crime by patrons at their own establishment.
Although several individuals were responsible for the assault,
five individuals were arrested that night and are currently facing criminal
charges for violent gang assault, but as of yet, no indictment has been made.
There is a court date scheduled for February 20, 2007. In the meantime, the
community is being urged to contact the DA's office to encourage full
prosecution of the case and to show support for Mr. Nagpal and Mr. Mathur.
WE NEED YOU!
What you can do, if you want to help:
1) If you or anyone you know was at Leela Lounge on the night of the
attack, the night of December 23, 2006, it is very important that you
step forward as you may have information helpful to the investigation.
Please contact: 212-335-9000. Let them know you are calling about
People of the State of New York v. Anthony Diblasio et al. Docket
#2006NY087241-244, Docket #2006NY087219.
2) Write a letter to the DA's office. Until an indictment is issued,
there is a chance we might be able to influence the DA in which path
he chooses to pursue. The letter should not be antagonistic in tone,
but it could convey your support for seeing this case prosecuted fully
and your opposition to any plea bargains. Please write to: Honorable
Robert M. Morgenthau, District Attorney, One Hogan Place, New York,
New York, 10007; OR CALL: 212-335-9000. Let them know you are
calling about People of the State of New York v. Anthony Diblasio et
al. Docket #2006NY087241-244, Docket #2006NY087219.
3) Rally everyone you know to come out to Manhattan Criminal Court
(100 Centre Street, Part F, 9:30 am) on Tuesday, February 20, 2007, as
a silent witness and a peaceful supporter. Help us show the judge and
the DA's office, how much this case means to our community. Numbers
matter! Spread the word to all of your friends, leaders, and any
media contacts. Convince the media that this is a story worth
Post your comments below.