Stunned By Attacks In NY, Sikhs Call For Protection
NEW YORK, NY (IANS) – Following two back-to-back attacks on Sikhs recently, leaders and community members gathered in New York to denounce hate and call for protection against the rising crimes against them in the US.
Jasmer Singh, 66, died after he was beaten to death during a road rage incident on October 19, just four days after fellow Sikh and teenager Mani Sandhu was punched repeatedly for wearing a turban onboard a bus in New York City.
Heartbroken and upset, Sikhs gathered at Gurdwara Sikh Cultural Society in South Richmond Hill on October 26 in a show of solidarity towards the victims of the attack.
“Time and time again we’ve seen the Sikh community become the target of senseless hate. Due to this hate, we have now lost a beloved community member,” Japneet Singh, activist and organizer of the event, wrote.
“He just hit my father so intense, like so hard on his head. His two front teeth were taken out,” Jasmer’s son Subeg Multani told CBS News.
He said that he is angry as police are treating his father’s death as a road rage case while it was a hate crime.
“This is the NYPD’s job to protect us. They failed to do so. They failed to do so,” Multani told the channel.
While Gilbert Augustin was arrested and charged with manslaughter for the attack on Jasmer Singh, Christopher Philippeaux, who targeted Sandhu, was charged with hate crime assault.
Sandhu, who came to the US 10 months ago, told CBS News that now he doesn’t feel safe when he steps outside his home.
Following Jasmer Singh’s killing, New York Mayor Eric Adams said he would be meeting Sikh leaders to discuss the needs of the community following the incident.
New York Assembly woman Jenifer Rajkumar said that as the first Punjabi ever elected to state office, she will “not stop working until we end this hate”.
“When a crime occurs against any of us, it is a crime against all of us, and we come together in solidarity. Sikhs are our protectors… Every practitioner of this beautiful faith deserves our unyielding respect. As the first Punjabi-American ever elected to the New York State Office, I will always fight for the freedom and dignity of Sikh Americans,” Rajkumar said in a statement.
Local activists told CBS News that they are in the process of fundraising to start a patrol group as recent police data has shown that crimes have gone down where civilian patrols are conducted.
Releasing its annual report of hate crimes statistics in 2022 this month, the FBI recorded 198 cases of hate crimes against the Sikhs, stating that the community still remains the second-most targeted group in the nation.
Japneet Singh told CBS News that hate crimes against Sikhs are rising, but statistics don’t reflect them as some crimes aren’t reported.
He also claimed that the NYPD doesn’t investigate these cases properly.