“Our diversity makes the US stronger,” says State department condemning “any form of hate-based violence”
Deeply disturbed by an attack on a Sikh taxi driver at the JFK International Airport, India’s Consulate General in New York has asked the US authorities to investigate the incident.
“The assault against a Sikh taxi driver in New York is deeply disturbing. We have taken up the matter with US authorities and urged them to investigate this violent incident,” the Indian mission tweeted on Saturday.
Hours later the US State Department condemned the attack saying, “We are deeply disturbed by reports of an apparent attack on a Sikh cab driver at JFK airport, captured on video last week.”
Read: Sikh cab driver assaulted in New York in a possible hate crime (April 19, 2017)
“Our diversity makes the US stronger, & we condemn any form of hate-based violence,’ it said on its South and Central Asia division Twitter account.
“We all have a responsibility to hold perpetrators of hate crimes accountable for their actions, no matter where such crimes occur,” it added.
A January 4 video posted by various Twitter accounts, including by Simran Jeet Singh of the Inclusive America Project at the Aspen Institute, a think tank, shows a man, who appears to be Sikh cab driver standing by his taxi, being hit by another individual.
The attacker walks away then comes back and starts hitting the taxi driver again. He then hits another individual who questions him. People can be heard shouting in the background.
“Another Sikh cab driver assaulted. This one at JFK Airport in NYC. So upsetting to see,” Simran Jeet Singh tweeted. “But it’s crucial that we don’t look away. What I am sure of is how painful it is to watch our fathers and elders get assaulted while they’re just trying to live an honest life.”
“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,” he wrote.
Posting another 26-second video shot by a bystander, Navjot Pal Kaur tweeted, “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.”
The video has led 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, ultimately knocking off the driver’s turban.”
“No additional details have been released outside of the video, but we know this story too well. A Sikh person goes about their daily lives only to be senselessly attacked by someone. Common road rage between people can escalate when someone who is ignorant of who we are takes their disdain for our turbans and becomes violent,” it said.