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In an alleged racially-motivated attack, a man (pictured above) punched a 19-year-old Sikh teen multiple times and attempted to remove his turban onboard a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus in New York City.
Police said both men were riding on a shuttle bus on Sunday morning near 118th Street and Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill when the suspect approached the victim, ABC7 News reported.
“We don’t wear that in this country,” the suspect allegedly told the victim pointing at his turban, following which he punched the young Sikh several times and tried to remove it.
He then got off the bus and remains at large, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) said, urging the public to help in nabbing the suspect.
Releasing a picture, the NYPD described the suspect as “a male, 25-35 years of age, dark complexion, slim build, approximately 5’9 tall, with brown eyes and black hair”.
The victim, who suffered a minor cut and pain, refused medical attention at the scene, police said.
Slamming the incident, the Sikh Coalition said on X (formerly Twitter) that it is “deeply disturbed by an apparent hate-motivated attack on a Sikh teen”.
“We are in contact with the survivor and working with him to provide support as needed; he has requested anonymity for the time being. Our current understanding is that (the) NYPD is, appropriately, investigating this incident as a hate crime,” the Coalition said.
“Right now, the victim is very traumatised,” community activist Japneet Singh told ABC7. “The family is very scared for him.”
Japneet said the victim was injured badly enough that he won’t be able to work for the next few days.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the bus attack.
Releasing its annual report of hate crimes statistics in 2022 on Monday, the FBI recorded 198 cases of anti-Sikh hate crime victimisations.
Stating that religiously-motivated hate crime victimisations were at their highest with a 17 per cent increase since 2021, the FBI said that Sikhs still remain the second-most targeted group in the nation.
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