"We see attacks on minorities every day"
During his early morning walk, a 70-year-old Indian man was attacked in Queens, New York on April 4, 2022.
The police said that the attack on Nirmal Singh was unprovoked, and left him with a broken nose and other bruises.
Singh, in his native language Punjabi, spoke to Eyewitness News of ABC7 New York, saying that he was punched from behind around 7 am in Richmond Hill, a commercial neighbourhood in New York City.
The South Asian community in New York is outraged and concerned for the safety of the Indian diaspora in the area.
Community Activist Japneet Singh believes that the attack on Nirmal Singh was indeed a racial one.
He said: “People come at us a certain way because of the way we look.”
He added that within the South Asian community, Sikh men are the most vulnerable to hate crimes because of the turban that they wear.
Nirmal Singh had been in the United States for only two weeks when the attack happened.
Harpreet Singh Toor, the Sikh Cultural Society public policy chairman told CBS2:
“Any attack in the name of just because you look different is an attack against everybody, not just that person, and it’s got to stop.”
“This morning I was going to Gurdwara saw him sitting outside and 2 uncles were there assisting him. He was attacked from behind.
Bapu Ji said he just closed his eyes when he got attacked and started crying.” pic.twitter.com/rYERgaQ5o6
— Sikhexpo (@sikhexpo) April 3, 2022
City Human Rights Commissioner Gurdev Singh Kang added:
“Our uncles, our parents, they’re coming to pray and now they’re going to feel scared because they don’t know who is going to be victimised in that kind of situation.”
Kang is calling on Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell to look into the case.
When asked if he believes the attack was a hate crime, Kang said: “Yes. It’s not the first incident that has happened in this area. It happened before, too.”
Toor added: “We see attacks on minorities every day and it’s got to stop.”
Toor said he hopes the attack is investigated as a hate crime and that the person responsible is caught soon.
An investigation is taking place actively, but no arrests have been made so far.
The Indian man’s son Manjeet Singh spoke to Sabrina Malhi and said:
“I am proud that our community is at the forefront of helping everyone in every way but we do not need any kind of money help.
“I sincerely thank all the brothers and sisters who stood by me and took this matter to the police and the media.
“We never thought travelling to America would be so expensive.”
“I hope the mercy of New York, the police, all the officers in high positions and the politicians will demand justice and take drastic steps to prevent this from happening to any religion or common people, all the people of our community and all Gurdwara Sahib.”