70-year-old Sikh assaulted in New York; Indian Consulate, Sikh, Muslim groups condemn

A 70-year-old Sikh man Nirmal Singh who is visiting from Punjab, India, was punched in the unprovoked assault on Sunday morning in New York.

Images shared on social media showed the elderly Sikh person with a bloodied turban, face and clothes.

The Consulate General of India in New York has condemned the assault, terming it as “deeply disturbing.”

The Consulate General further said they were in touch with the police who are investigating this heinous hate crime.

“We condemn the violent attack and are in touch with the New York Police Department and local authorities who are investigating the matter. We are also in touch with local community organisations to ensure the well-being of the victim,” the Indian Consulate General saod in a tweet on Monday.

According to Spectrum News NY1, Singh was repeatedly punched on the face by an unknown attacker around 6.45 am on Sunday.

The attacker approached Singh from behind and fled the scene, the report said.

Singh is a tourist visiting from India and he was able to walk back after the assault to the cultural centre, where he has been staying since he arrived in New York, the report said.

Singh was transported to a local hospital where he has been receiving treatment.

Singh is currently in touch with the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force and the task force has confirmed that they are investigating the assault as a hate crime.

Widespread condemnations and solidarities with the survivor

Community-based civil and human rights organisation, The Sikh Coalition, said it is deeply grateful to the community leaders in Richmond Hill and allied organisations across the country who have rallied around Singh, PTI reported.

The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation, also condemned the attack on Singh.

“We condemn this attack on a member of the Sikh community and urge law enforcement authorities to do everything they can to bring the alleged perpetrator to justice,” CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher said.

The Muslim group further said: “Religious, racial and ethnic minorities are increasingly being targeted by hate, and members of those minority communities must be able to go about their daily business without fear of harassment or attack.”

“This is happening too often in New York, where random people walk up to other people who don’t look like them and punch them,” CNN quotes Harpreet Singh Toor, chairman of public policy and external affairs for the Sikh Cultural Society as saying.

New York has recently reported a spike in hate crimes, largely driven by the surge in violence against Asian Americans.