POLITICS

Sikh Cab Driver Attacked In New York City, His Turban Snatched

"It was too horrible.”

18/04/2017 9:58 PM IST | Updated 18/04/2017 10:09 PM IST
Neil Hall / Reuters

NEW YORK -- A 25-year-old Sikh cab driver in the US was assaulted and his turban knocked off by drunk passengers, an incident the police was investigating as a possible hate crime.

The incident took place here early Sunday morning and has left Harkirat Singh, an immigrant from Punjab who moved to the US three years ago, scared. "I'm so afraid. I don't want to work," Singh told the New York Daily News.

"It's an insult on my religion, also. An insult of my faith. It's horrible." The report said the New York Police Department is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted in his support, saying "Harkirat Singh — You are welcome here. What happened to you was wrong. You did the right thing by calling the NYPD."

Last week, Sikhs in the US launched a million-dollar awareness campaign aiming to inform Americans about the Sikh faith amid continuous incidents of hate crime against the community.

Singh said he picked up three men and a woman – all in their 20s – around 5 AM Sunday from Madison Square Garden. When they reached their destination in the Bronx, they began complaining that Singh had taken them to the wrong address. The passengers were allegedly drunk and could not give Singh a straight answer about where they wanted to go, leaving him "confused."

The passengers then began hurling slurs and banging on the plastic partition in his cab, Singh recalled. "They're using bad words, also," he said recalling that those used expletives and called him "Ali Baba." Singh told the group to pay USD 41.76 and find another cab.

While the women gave him the cash after Singh called 911, one of the men got back into the cab and tried to smash the meter. Then he punched Singh in the arm, he said. "After that, he picked off my turban from my head," he said. "He wanted to snatch my phone also...It was too horrible."

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