An Indian-origin Sikh man was assaulted by an unidentified man earlier this week at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in a case of suspected hate crime. A video of the incident became viral on Twitter after being posted on Tuesday.
The video posted by US resident Navjot Pal Kaur showed a man attacking the Sikh man and in the scuffle the Sikh man’s turban was also knocked off by the attacker.
“I just wanted to highlight the fact that hatred continues to remain in our society and unfortunately I’ve seen Sikh cab drivers get assaulted again and again. It’s not enough to say that we need to fight against AAPI hate. We actually need our elected officials to get involved with consequences for those who commit acts of violence against our community,” Kaur tweeted while posting the video. Kaur maintains that she is not the original owner of the video.
Aspen Institute’s Inclusive America Project director Simran Jeet Singh also condemned the incident. “Another Sikh cab driver assaulted. This one at JFK Airport in NYC. So upsetting to see. But it’s crucial that we don’t look away,” she said while retweeting the video tweeted by Navjot.
Lawmaker Manjinder Singh Sirsa also tweeted the video and asked India’s ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu to address hate crimes committed against Sikhs in the US. “Sikh sentiments hurt seeing racial attack at a Sikh taxi driver in NY! His dastaar was removed outside JFK airport. Urging @SandhuTaranjitS Ji to address the issue of lawlessness & Sikhs being targeted in the US,” Sirsa said.
Hate crimes against people belonging to Sikh community surged following the 9/11 attacks. The Sikh Coalition, a volunteer organization which works for protecting the rights of Sikhs, says that there are at least 500,000 Sikh Americans living in the US and many of them have been victims of hate crimes. Citing a report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation released in the year 2020, new agency PBS said that the hate crimes against Sikhs rose to 67 that year compared to 37 in 2019.