A Sikh Taxi driver of Indian origin was allegedly assaulted outside the JFK airport in New York. An unidentified man knocked his turban off, hurled abusive words at him.
In a suspected hate crime case, a Sikh Taxi driver of Indian descent was racially abused and assaulted by an unidentified man outside the JFK Airport, New York. On January 4, a 26-second video uploaded by Navjot Pal Kaur on Twitter went viral showing the unidentified man knocking the taxi driver’s turban off and hurling abuses and curses against him.
The taxi driver was also punched and hit severely by the unknown man. Kaur tweeted that a bystander at the airport took the video and did not own any rights to the video. She added that Sikh cab drivers get assaulted repeatedly, and feelings of hatred and hostility continue to prevail in our society.
The Indian Consulate General in New York described the video as “deeply disturbing” and stated that it had taken the matter with the US authorities and urged them to investigate it as soon as possible.
News18 reported that a Sikh volunteer organization that works to protect the Sikh communities’ rights informed the News18 media officials that over 5 lakh people from the Sikh community reside in the US. Many have fallen prey to such heinous acts of violence and racial abuse often caused by the local American residents. Many claim the same results from rising communal hatred and differences among different communities and nationalities.
The video went viral as soon as it was uploaded, leading to angry reactions by community members. The National Sikh Campaign said, “We are only a few days into the new year, and there has already been a hate crime committed against a Sikh. A bystander recorded an unidentified man attacking a Sikh taxi driver at JFK airport, ultimately knocking off the driver’s turban.” “For those who aren’t Sikh, I can’t put into words what it means to have your turban knocked off – or to see someone else’s turban knocked off.
It’s visceral and gut-wrenching and just so disheartening to witness,” Simran Jeet Singh, author and Director for the Aspen Institute’s Inclusive America Project, tweeted. The incident is not the first time. The US reported such incidents in the past. In 2019 and 2017, similar violence and hate crimes against Sikh drivers were reported in the US. In 2019, an Indian origin Sikh Uber driver was assaulted and abused in a similar case of suspected hate crime.
The incident took place in the US state of Washington. The driver told the police authorities that he believed his race promoted a violent attack on him. In 2017, another incident was reported of a 25-year old Sikh cab driver getting knocked off of his turban by some drunk passengers and being assaulted and harassed in New York, United States.
This recent incident has taken the internet by storm, and netizens, especially those belonging to the Sikh communities, are enraged furiously as this deeply hurt their sentiments. They claim such “disturbing incidents” as a matter of concern and worry for the Sikh communities residing in the US. One netizen asserted that the victims who fell prey to such hate crimes must be delivered justice as soon as possible.
Another tweeted that on Guru Gobind Singh’s Jayanti, he wishes for peace and harmony to prevail everywhere. Such violent acts targeted against specific communities be prevented in the future.