25-year-old Sikh cab driver attacked, turban forcefully taken off
NEW YORK: In an alleged hate crime, a 25-year old Sikh cab driver was assaulted by four drunken passengers, who hurled racial slurs at him and knocked off his turban. The incident, occured, just hours after thousands of Sikhs gathered at Times Square to mark ‘Turban day’, an event organised by a Sikh group on the eve of Vaisakhi.
According to the report, the cab driver Harkirat Singh, an immigrant from Punjab who moved to US three years ago, picked up three men and a women from Madison Square Garden, who wished to be dropped at a location in Bronx. But after reaching their destination, the passengers started complaining that they were being dropped at the wrong location. Singh said the passengers were drunk and left him “confused” regarding where they wished to go.
“The girl’s saying, ‘Take the right.’ The Spanish guy’s saying, ‘Take the left.’ So, at that time, I was confused,” Singh said. He further added that the passengers started banging on the plastic partition and started abusing him and called him “Ali Baba”. Singh said he asked the passengers to take another cab and called the police, after which one of the passengers tried to smash the meter in his cab and punched his arm. Recalling that he cried and pleaded with the man to calm down, Singh said, “After that, he picked off my turban from my head… At that time, I’m so afraid – they can do anything to me.
They’re gonna kill me.” Fearing the police are on their way, the group fled the scene with Singh’s turban. Scared after the incident, Singh said that he no longer wish to drive a cab. “I’m so afraid. I don’t want to work. It’s an insult on my religion, also. An insult of my faith. It’s horrible,” Singh told the local media.