Sikh Cab Driver Assaulted At New York Airport; US Condemns ‘Deeply Disturbing’ Attack

Hours after the Indian Consulate in New York informed authorities over the assault on a Sikh taxi driver at the JFK International Airport, the US condemned the incident and said it was "deeply disturbed by reports".

Updated: January 9, 2022 9:34 AM IST

By India.com News Desk | Edited by Snigdha Choudhury

Sikh Cab Driver Assaulted At New York Airport; US Condemns 'Deeply Disturbing' Attack
India's Consulate General in New York had termed the assault on a Sikh taxi driver at the JFK International Airport as "deeply disturbing".

New Delhi: Hours after the Indian Consulate in New York informed authorities over the assault on a Sikh taxi driver at the JFK International Airport, the US condemned the incident and said it was “deeply disturbed by reports”. “We are deeply disturbed by reports of an attack on a Sikh cab driver at John F. Kennedy airport, captured on video last week,” the US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs said in a tweet on Sunday.

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“Our diversity makes the US stronger, and we condemn any form of hate-based violence,” the State Department added.

The US State Department said perpetrators of hate crimes will be “held accountable for their actions”. “We all have a responsibility to hold perpetrators of hate crimes accountable for their actions.”

India’s Consulate General in New York had termed the assault on a Sikh taxi driver at the JFK International Airport as “deeply disturbing” and urged US authorities to probe the matter. “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 Consulate General of India in New York tweeted.

An undated 26-second video uploaded by Navjot Pal Kaur on Twitter on January 4, showed a man assaulting the Sikh taxi driver outside the airport. Kaur said in a tweet that the video was shot by a bystander at the airport. The person can be heard allegedly using expletives against the victim. He repeatedly hits and punches him and knocks off his turban.

“This video was taken by a bystander at John F. Kennedy International Airport. I do not own the rights to this video. But 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,” Kaur tweeted.

Further details about the driver or the cause of the incident were not available. The video has led to angry reactions by the community members.

“Another Sikh cab driver assaulted. This one at JFK Airport in NYC. So upsetting to see. 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,” Simran Jeet Singh, author and Director for the Aspen Institute’s Inclusive America Project, tweeted.

“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,” Singh said in another tweet.

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.

This is not the first time a Sikh taxi driver has been assaulted in the US. An Indian-origin Sikh Uber driver was in 2019 assaulted and racially abused in the US state of Washington in a suspected hate crime. The driver told the police that he believes his race promoted the attack.

In 2017, a 25-year-old Sikh cab driver in New York was assaulted and his turban knocked off by drunk passengers.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published Date: January 9, 2022 9:31 AM IST

Updated Date: January 9, 2022 9:34 AM IST