New York: Hate crimes in the United States on a spree. In a recent incident a Sikh cab driver was targeted by passengers who attacked him and snatched his turban. The incident took place in New York and the victim has been identified as 25-year-old Harkirat Singh.
He told the police that it was a scary experience with a drunk passenger accompanied by three other aides. Singh said that following the experience he was too scared to drive during night. Singh said that he is too scared to work again and that the incident was an insult to his religion.
Singh told New York Daily News that he had picked up three men and a woman from the Eight Avenue and 30th street, which is few blocks from south Madison Square Garden.
He said that the passengers were sloshed and were unable to give the right direction. They soon started hurling abuses at Singh and started misbehaving in the car. “They were using bad words. They said, ‘Ali baba, f**k you,” Singh told the New York Daily News.
One of the passenger punched Singh in the arm, and after that snatched his turban. Meanwhile, New York City Police Department (NYPD) has initiated a probe into the incident.
A week before the attack on Harkirat, Sikhs in the United States launched a million-dollar awareness campaign to stop hate-fueled attacks by explaining more about who they are and what they believe. The “We are Sikhs” campaign was years in the making, funded by Sikh leaders and their families across a dozen cities, who have been swept up in anti-Muslim sentiment since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Their beards and turbans – symbols of equality in a religion that opposes India’s caste system – make American Sikhs easy targets for the angry and uninformed.
Surveys commissioned by Sikh leaders found that nearly 9 in 10 American Sikhs have experienced negative reactions or hate language, Singh said.